Sweden hosts inaugural Parkinson’s National Championships
by Patrik Björs Strand
Notably, the tournament was a direct result of the 2019 ITTF Parkinson’s World Championships staged last October in New York when Pelle Hägglund from the Spårvägens club had led the Swedish party.
Significantly, the club now organises a regular Parkinson’s coaching session.
Overall five events were held, eight tables being used, proceedings being organised under the direction of Anders Svensson. Family members gave support, we especially remember the grandchild who held up the sign “Go grandpa!”.
After a much needed lunch break, spectators and players were invited to an inspirational lecture by Anders Johansson, chief physician at the Neurological Clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital in Solna. He explained the many positive health benefits that an active life in sports gives; of course he gave a little extra thumbs up to table tennis!
Also, Petra Sörling, President of the Swedish Table Tennis Association addressed those present as did Eleonor Högström, President of the Swedish Parkinson’s Association; the idea being for a long term agreement between the Swedish Table Tennis Association and the Parkinson’s Association.
Likewise, originally from Luleå, Maritha Juhlin explained her life journey and how she had found table tennis.
Vote of thanks
The session concluded with a short speech by the Patrik Björs Strand from the Swedish Table Tennis Association who took the opportunity to thank Spårvägens and the Parkinson’s Association for their very valuable commitment and efforts. Importantly, he stressed the fact that the Swedish Table Tennis Association is now looking ahead to hold more Parkinson’s events, both national and international.
Eleonor Högström and Anders Svensson, alongside Ulf Rödin, the guest of honour and for many years a member of the Swedish Table Tennis Association Executive Committee cut the ribbon to officially open proceedings.
“The moment I entered the Liljeholmen Table Tennis Centre, I was hit by a very warm and cozy feeling. The participants are all true heroes and amazing ambassadors for our sport; this is something that I will carry inside my heart for a very long time. The mutual feeling I think everyone of us on site shared was we must do this again soon.” Petra Sörling.
Two intense competition completed Jan Nordlindh, who won men’s doubles bronze partnering Gothenburg’s Stefan Kling, invited all to dinner at the Hard Rock Café where Petra Sörling and Ulf Rödin presented the medals.