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29 Jun 2015

Finns even arranged good weather for European Veterans Championships

Proceedings were officially opened in a ceremony on the centre of Tampere, which is incredibly warm considering we are in the frozen north

European Veterans Championships in Finland was officially open. Yesterday, on a training day there was not a spare table in the competition and the training area, as nearly 2,000 competitors from more than 30 countries on more than 130 tables learnt how to say 'Do you want a knock' in everyone's languages. Friendships and camaraderie were the order of the day .

Proceedings were 'officially opened' in a ceremony on the centre of Tampere, which is incredibly warm considering we are in the frozen north. The Finns even arranged good weather for event.

There is also a music festival this week, so the table tennis fraternity took over the vast marquee in the centre with about 1,000 players, coaches and partners participating in the official opening ceremony. President of Finnish Table Tennis Association, Esko HEIKKINEN welcomed the visitors from home and abroad to Tampere. He expressed his pride in hosting the biggest table tennis event ever to take place in Finland, and wanted everyone not only to enjoy the table tennis, but to experience the midnight sun and the unique atmosphere from this united veterans table tennis community.

Zdenko KRIZ, Chairman of the ETTU's veteran's committee came straight from the airport to add his thanks, support and best wishes to the European table tennis family. He spoke of renewing old friendships and making new contacts, experiences and memories.

Entertainment was provided by a male voice choir, who served us some typical Finnish ballads and a few foot stomping, hand clapping numbers. The artistic gymnasts also performed a few twists and turns and had everyone sharing the mood in their last number of 'And I'm feeling good.....'

Finally, the deputy mayors told us about the sporting traditions of Tampere, mainly as a city united by sport and divided by two ice hockey teams..... and then declared the event officially open to a spontaneous round of applause.

Last night, friendship and a united veterans table tennis community has a good feeling of 'love-all' as drinks and stories and pictures are shared in the Finnish sunshine. Today, a different 'love-all' starts the competitive side of the tournament, when players begin the road to medals.

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