Dream Final. Eliasson (SWE) vs. Kärkkäinen (FIN).
The world's two dominating Racketletes - continuously since the very beginning of international Racketlon in 2001.
Photo: Henry K C Wu
Revenge. Left: After last year's Finnish Open final. Right: After this year's final. (Spot the moving smile.)
Photo: Henry K C Wu and www.racketlon.fi
With tightest possible margin Eliasson got his revenge after his loss to
Kärkkäinen in the World Championship final last December. The figures
Eliasson-Kärkkäinen -26 (8-21 18-21 11-21 -)
...compared to yesterday's:
Eliasson-Kärkkäinen +1 (12-21 20-22 21-15 21-15)
Generally, this year's Finnish Open, as usual, offered a Men's Elite field of almost world championship standard (see preview). For a taste of some of the action in Espoo (Helsinki) over the weekend read the reports below.
The Racketlon Finnish Open ended with the dream final everybody was expecting between the world's two best players. Four times World Champion Mikko Kärkkäinen vs three times World Champion and world ranking number one Magnus Eliasson.
Kärkkäinens start looked promising as he took the table tennis 21-12. The badminton was even but Kärkkäinen managed to increase his lead by two points; 21-19. In squash Kärkkäinen took an early lead and it looked like he was going to a comfortable win.
However, once in the lead Kärkkäinens game changed to playing safe instead of going for winners which had brought him the lead. This suited Eliasson fine and he cruised to a 21-15 win, which meant a 5 points lead for Kärkkäinen before tennis. But Kärkkäinens lack of competition was showing throughout the match and Eliasson took the tennis 21-15 and a one point victory to become the Finnish Open Champion. Im lacking motivation at the moment and the only thing in Racketlon that turns me on at the moment is playing Mikko, said Mr. Racketlon Magnus Eliasson.
In the match for 3rd place Stefan Adamsson beat Pekka Kainulainen by
Here are the results in summary (see tournament homepage for full results):
MEN'S VETERAN O45
-) Pekka Kainulainen, once again, showed evidence of great capacity and
pushed Adamsson til the very end in their bronze match;
-) Two out of the four seeded players were knocked out in the first round
And second seed Sach fell against Finnish wildcard Ismo Rönkkö
(allegedly one of Finland's better tennis players);
-) The most anticipated match of the first round was probably the one
between Kärkkäinen and Källberg. Here is the result:
-) In the Men's Veteran class World no.1 Volker Sach achieved a break
in a long series of recent losses to Finland's Anders Lundström.
Reflections on a Weekend in Hel
Despite the overly dramatic play on words in the title, the first thing to say is that this tournament was well organised, at a nice venue and that the hosts were nice in that quirky way that Finns usually are. The organisation was effective and unobtrusive and the volunteers helpful and friendly. Thanks to everyone.
But is the Party Finnished?
Well you don't need a super-economist like Racketlon star Professor Peersman to note a tendency to economic downturn. And of course, whatever the local reasons, this tournament presumably needs to think about its timing just 2 weeks after Belgium when one suspects many of the list above were there. I was only in Finland myself because I couldn't get to Oudenaarde. Again, Professor Peersman may be able to confirm that unless we are talking about capitalism, it is perfectly possible for something to be healthy without growing, but given some of the logistical struggles of Racketlon, and the lack of a junior base to feed new recruits, I at least wondered about the future of my beloved sport. Most notably, where were the ever keen Estonians? The answer is "near but not here".
Pretty Boy Lloyd?
Ou se Trouve L'Ecosse?
While I'm here, allow me to challenge Calum to my own '4-sport' version of 'Racketlon'. 1. Real tennis (because I doubt he's ever played; www.irtpa.com) 2. Pool (I went to university for 8 years). 3. Mental arithmetic (not strong in the calculator generation) and 4. Drinking (I said I went to university for 8 years).
I am looking into this at the moment but it was set up by some boffins and a computer. The details are less important than the consequences. Because of those boffins, every real tennis player in the world has a handicap (like golfers). Accordingly you may play only a few times or many times but you have an idea of your real standard compared to other players. This allows the results of all real tennis matches (and not just tournaments) to influence handicaps. For a sport like Racketlon with a basic 84 points to play for per match this ought to be possible to sort out and, what is more, already existing results could be used to model it. And, like happens with golf, all future games could help modify one's handicap. Handicaps would enable reasonably accurate seeding of tournaments even if, ultimately, a different 'league table' were introduced to indicate tournament success. It is probably enough to finish by saying that someone who has won 6 matches and lost 26 in B and C categories in recent years ought not to be about to re-enter the world's top 100, virtually unassailable as Wales number 1.
/Lloyd Pettiford (Wales Number 1)
PS Do not attempt to understand the rules of real tennis unless you have been drinking like a Finn. Finally congrats to Magnus; clearly the thrill of beating me 7-3 warming up at badminton gave him the edge he needed :)
2008-06-16: First version.
2008-06-21: Added "sidenotes" by Lloyd Pettiford. Added photos.