Comfortable wins for Eliasson, Druve
and Carleke in The Swedish Open.
The Swedish Open continues to grow in accordance with an impressive curve reflecting the general growth of a sport that at present might even be the fastest growing in the world. In 2002 the event attracted 58 entries, the year after 82, then 120 and this year 151(!) Men's Open participant Joachim Nilsson reports:
The Swedish Open in Stockholm started off the 2005 racketlon
year and it was a great event for all of us racket lovers. Last
year's number of entries was easily beaten and this year this
well-organized tournament managed to attract no less than 151
entries. Lennart Eklundh and his crew did an excellent job and,
on behalf of the players, I would like to thank you all for your
time and effort.
The tournament became mainly a Swedish affair with many foreign top players staying at home. Perhaps the Gothenburg Open in November is too close thus making it harder for the the non-Swedish players to travel. Nonetheless the standard was really high and all the top Swedish players participated, with the exception of Roland Helle who was missing due to work obligation.
In the men's elite, Magnus Eliasson was once again the big favourite to win with the main challengers being Stefan Adamsson, Mats Källberg, Richard Persson and John O'Donnell. Stefan Larsson could have been a great threat, showing good form, but he broke his achilles in the quarter final against Mats Källberg. A painful retreat, but Stefan is a fighter and will surely be back soon. Let's hope for a quick recovery.
Stefan Adamsson was tipped by some to win against Magnus but he was feeling feverish and had to withdraw before squash.It is definitely not recommended to play Magnus at squash if you have a temperature, so it was probably a wise move.
So with Stefan out of the way, table tennis specialist Mats Källberg waited in the final. Mats played a solid game of table tennis (21-2) and got the perfect start that is so necessary. Then it was off to badminton which is normally a strong Källberg discipline but this time around Magnus proved to be too strong and won 21-10. In squash, Mats surprised everyone and won the first point. He was jumping up and down like he had won the lottery, but he was soon smashed completely by Magnus who won 21 straight points. By then the racketlon game was practically over and the tennis was just a formality.
Magnus is like a good wine and keeps improving with age.
Easy victory for Druve
In the Ladies' Open Lilian Druve came up to expectations and
won the competion in a very convincing way.With the absence of
the dynamic Scottish duo of Katy Buchanan and Sarah McFadyen
(injury), Finland's Susanna Lautala-Näykki and Germany's Irene
Seifert posed the biggest threats to Lilian. But it was clear
from the start who would come out on top. Lilian has found joy in
her game again and she has improved her table tennis skills a
lot. It is going to be interesting to follow the rest of the
ladies tour and especially the struggle between Lilian and Sarah.
A new Iron Man
Bredberg - from racketlon metropolis Gothenburg
Magnus Eliasson is normally known as the iron man of
racketlon, but this time the denomination is better suited for
veteran Ulf Bredberg. Ulf took part in two classes and reached
the final in both. In class one he beat favourite Joakim Sandberg
after a tough game. Shortly after he had to play against Pär
Carleke in the veterans' final. Pär is undisputedly the best
veteran player on the tour and would probably make it to the top
10 in the mens elite as well. If Ulf is going to have a chance
against Pär he needs to fully concentrate on one event. Only 3
points were played in squash before Ulf had to retire as a result
of an injury. But moments later Ulf was resurrected (after some
effective massage) and back on court, now playing against home
player Andreas Källman in the class one final. The injury was
not that bad and he could win by a margin of 21 points.Very
impressive! Ulf is a newcomer and still at the very beginning of
his racketlon career so he is really a man to look out for in the
This was a great start of the 2005 racketlon year and hopefully racketlon will continue to be one of world's fastest growing sports. Let's make 2005 the best year so far. Next up is the Canadien Open in Toronto (register at www.racketlon.ca and get your cheap ticket from Europe at www.cheapflights.co.uk) in March and I hope as many as possible can go there.
Next stop for me is the Czech Open in the beautiful city of Prague.
See you there!
For full results, see the Swedish Open tournament homepage