It all started in a place “where the Eagles still fly” . My father was the gym teacher and the chair of the local sport club – Mörsils IF. At the time the village tucked away in the rural North West parts of Sweden had some 1000 inhabitants – approx 750 of them members of the club.
We are speaking early seventies when Table Tennis took off in Mörsil . It all lifted with a travelling c0ach-player by the name of Alf Knutsson from Stockholm who started to run training camps on a regular basis for what I would discribe as a diverse group of young players. Success showed up around the corner pretty quickly and players , especially the womens team , quickly became a factor, at least in the northern region of Sweden.
The group itself worked hard – so they thought , with practice scheduled three times per week . Reality however struck when opponents from the south showed up on the other side of the Table. Equipped with a decent , maybe even good service, an unorthodox pimples out rubber on the backhand side and a most ordinary forehand , the main blogger of this site , never reached even close to stardom as a player . Instead it was coaching that later would become a sort of carrier definer.
I learned the coaching- trade from a number of good Swedish coaches in the eighties . Worked along side with Anders Johansson and Dick Torstensson in Halmstad , Sweden and filled in for Bo Persson at the famous Falkenberg Table Tennis center. The first and basically only international assignment for Sweden was handed out by Anders Thunstrom who picked up Andersson for an assistant role just a few weeks before the European Youth Championships in Belgium 1986.
The coaching journey accelerated quickly and the first real international challenge came “across the water” in Denmark 1988, when the Danes appointed their first full time National Coach. The rocky but interesting marrige lasted for seven years. Still remember and cherish that column in a Danish sporting magazine that so well defined and described the years in Denmark. Ask me and i would say ; “Seven Years and the General and Front-soldier” . It was indeed an interesting time . Tears of defeat at a lonely hotel room in Chiba 1991 was a low-point of a tough and demanding three year building process in Denmark . The sails would finally catch the wind, when some younger Danish talents started to make their ways forward in Europe. The final triumph came in Paris 1994, when the players and a hard-working national coach stood the test and won the European Youth Championships Junior Boys Team title .
If those years were the ultimate entry port to the international scene – we are today far closer the exit – if that ever appears for a notorius sporting idiot of course . The blogger is proud of the ITTF Global Junior Programme and all its features. Glad to have worked under a visionary strong and opened minded ITTF President, who has grown the sport of table tennis in many directions . I am also looking forward to new challenges with my competent colleagues in ITTF a growing organisation that is becoming such a positive factor in the sporting world.
The Olympic Games is what it is. A great motivational factor for all of us involved in the international sporting world. The ultimate driving force for amatuer sports. I did put my emotions in writing from Beijing.