DING Yi still in good shapeDing Yi - who has started his own racket business Photo: Ismo Alho Niemi
Tampere Exhibition and Sports Centre has become the all-time largest “the whole venue by one sight” table tennis hall with 90 tables in the main hall. European Veteran's Championships with more than 1800 players has participants from 35 countries. Monday and Tuesday were spent with qualifying groups in singles and doubles and the knock-out matches in main draw and consolation will start on Thursday.
All the well-known players from the past, like Austrian DING Yi (MS50), Russian Dimitri MAZUNOV (MS40) and Croatian Branka BATINIC (WS50) will continue their playing in the main draw.
The most interesting player so far, however, is German Inge-Brigitte HERRMANN, who just turned 94 years. Herrmann, playing women´s singles and doubles over 85 years is forced and pleased to give several interviews every time after entering the arena. She started her table tennis career at the age on 72.
The Finns seem to manage well with the organization.
" I have interviewed at least 100 European veterans. They are all telling me that the competition has been running brilliantly. The venue is superb with all similar tables and the lighting is good," said Zdenko KRIZ, Chairman of the ETTU Veteran Committee.