Closing the Gap?
Date: 2005-05-23

This year's Swedish Championships were characterised by a big (huge in fact when put in relation to recent years) Juniors class, expected winners in the Men's and Ladies' Elite classes and a veteran comeback. The Men's Elite class is starting to look more and more interesting with several players obviously trying very hard to close the gap to the dominant Magnus Eliasson, and after a squash loss by 18-21 to Adamsson and a remarkably small (12 points) over-all victory over Fagerström that gap is possibly(?) getting smaller.

Olle Benéus, himself a successful participant, reports below from the 2005 Swedish Championhips that took place during the weekend.

In a strong line-up, containing several world top ranked players, Magnus Eliasson once again came through as the strongest. In the final against Stefan Adamsson he had a solid start with 21-18 in table-tennis and 21-15 in badminton. The audience (almost 100) expected yet another fitness exhibition from Eliasson in the squash set but Adamsson played with great stamina and skill resulting in an unexpected victory by 21-18. Eliasson actually became tired (not often seen!) from rescuing many near winners from Adamsson's racket. But in the deciding tennis set Eliasson showed us all how fast he can recover his strength and effectively stopped Adamsson's hope of winnig the title by attacking down the backhand corner with volley follow-ups. The tennis ended at 16-9 putting the end difference to +13.

It must also be noted that both Mathias Fagerström (lost by only 12 points to Eliasson in the semi) and Christian Wall deserve credit for their performances. Both players upset the seedings by reaching the semi-finals; Wall by beating Mats Källberg by 2 points recovering from an initial 0-21 loss in the table tennis, Fagerström by taking advantage of the fact that Rickard Persson had to cancel. These guys look strong enough to be serious competitors to anyone on the international scene later this season.

Lilian Druve, world ranked no 1, did what was expected of her but impressed nevertheless by her ability to focus throughout the tournaments. This time she kept on winning all sets until Linda Jansson finally broke the pattern with a tennis victory (but taken after the match was decided). Lilian tells us that Linda is sure to successfully take on the international elite in the years to come.

With Pär Carleke absent, Veterans +45 had no certain outcome. At 53 years of age Olle Benéus came back as a winner defeating former World Championship runner up Staffan Myrdal in the final. The match was decided by a gummi-arm tie-break during which Myrdal pushed a volley 5 cm beyond the baseline. Lars Wallblom, 3:d place, entered +45 as favourite but lost in a tight semi against Benéus. It seems clear, however, that he could become a dangerous competitor even to Pär Carleke in the future.

Never have there been more Juniors entering this tournament. 14 guys gave proof of great potential. It will not take long before we can see our new Junior champion Elias Evergren take on opponents in the elite. In a close final he won against Felix Reichard by +7.

Andreas Nilsson took the bronze by beating Claudio Arrano.

The magnificent organizer, Lennart Eklund, was beaten for the senior's bronze, but had the biggest round of applause at the prize ceremony. He gracefully gave all credit to his hardworking staff that made this classic tournament with a history of over 15 years(!) a success.

For full results, see tournament homepage.