KUCHARSKI’s premiere at the European Veterans ChampionshipsPhoto: Max Ansbro
For Poland’s Leszek KUCHARSKI (58), playing is Sweden is nothing new. He even spent one season (1989-90) playing here. He was a member of the BTK Rekord in Swedish league. He was very popular and everyone appreciated his willing to help younger players. He was famous of coming much earlier in the practice hall and spent his time practicing with the youngsters.
“The reason that I came here to play for a first time at the European Veterans Championships is the location. My daughter, granddaughter and ex wife lives here. I used to play for Rekord. That is why I wanted to come here,” explained KUCHARSKI.
Coming back to the place where he used to play was an opportunity to see some old friends.
“I am very happy to be here. It was good to see Jonny AKESSON among the others. We used to play together, and we have not seen each other for 20 years. We keep the contact via Facebook, but I am happy we could meet here again.”
His achievements as a national team player are impressive. At the 1989 he won a silver medal in the Men’s Doubles Event at the World Championships, then he clinched the silver at the European Championships three years earlier in Singles Event. In 1977 he won titles at the European Junior Championships. He played alongside Andrzej GRUBBA.
In Helsinborg he reached the Round of 16 round in Men’s Singles. In the Group stage of Men’s Singles 50, KUCHARSKI beat Ralf LENZE of Germany, Stefan NOVOTA of Czech Republic, Leif PEKKARI of Sweden. In all three matches he succeeded in straight games.
“Now the things gets little bit less comfortable,” said KUCHARSKI after victory in the first round against Thomas NILSSON of Sweden. ”I do not have much confidence, since I do not practice very much.”
In the Round of 32 he was under severe pressure against Igor GUDILKIN of Russia- 3:2, but he failed to beat Carsten EGEHOLT of Denmark in Round of 16.
KUCHARSKI runs the private Academy in Poland and work as a personal coach.
“I teach my students, first they have to put in before they take out. It means, talent is not sufficient; they have to work hard too. Today’s table tennis is very fast and it is all about power. There is not time to think a lot or there is no time for spectacular techniques, such as we saw in WALDNER’s era.”