by Ian Marshall, Editor
Few can match the achievements of the now 54 year old; in addition to holding the St Bride’s Vase high Chiba; on four occasions he was a member of Sweden’s gold medal winning men’s team at the World Championships, as well as three times at the World Team Cup and six times at the European Championships.
Furthermore, he won the men’s singles title at the European Championships in 1986 as well as striking gold at the Men’s World Cup in 1991. A glittering array and there is one more to add to the collection. He is a reigning World champion; at the 2018 World Veteran Championships in Las Vegas he won the men’s singles 50 to 54 years category.
Add seven consecutive Olympic Games appearances commencing in 1988 in Seoul; now a member of the ITTF Board of Directors, the record speaks for itself.
However, for his new role, the achievement at the Liebherr 2019 World Championships is arguably the most pertinent; totally against the odds he guided Mattias Falck to the final of the men’s singles event.
Respected wherever he appears; understandably the appointment is welcomed by Mikael Andersson, the High Performance Director for the Swedish Table Tennis Association.
“Of course we are very happy with this, a very custom made deal with Jörgen. Swedish table tennis now has a strong team, with current head coach Peter Blomquist, moving on to a new, more long term role with focus on talent development. Jörgen on his hand will do his best to prepare the guys to win medals at upcoming championships.
We have a very positive trend in our men’s team with a high level of competition within the group. We are determined in our goal to win at least one gold medal in either the European Championships, World Championships or at the Olympic Games.” Mikael Andersson
A challenge for Jörgen Persson in a situation that is somewhat reverse to when he played; time and against Germany had to play second fiddle to the all-conquering Swedes.
“We have many interesting championships coming up where I believe we have a good chance to challenge Germany who, during recent years, has been very tough for us to beat. We are always aiming for medals and if we can beat the Germans we are not far from our goal. A more long-term goal is of course to beat China again. We have done it before and we can do it again, if we think it is possible. We have a good plan and I believe we can make history repeat itself.
Let’s hope the European Championships in Poland in September will take place. On a short term basis that is our big goal to prepare and look forward to.” Jörgen Persson
Universally, the appointment is welcomed with open arms; no mean player in his day when wearing the colours of the national team, now the Secretary-General of the Swedish Table Tennis Association, Thomas Buza was clearly delighted with the appointment.
“It feels very good to have Jörgen in the team. To have a captain with great experience of crucial moments is of course very valuable for both ourselves and our players. I am also convinced that Jörgen will help us a lot in our work to find partners supporting Swedish table tennis.” Thomas Buza
In the modern era the backhand has become more and more important; I suggest the current crop of Swedish players learn from this one……….