Member Associations | 24 Mar 2023
History class: Kongepokalen, The highest prize in Norwegian table tennis
This weekend, the best Norwegian table tennis players will fight for the biggest prize that can be won in Norwegian events, the Kongepokalen or His Majesty's Kongens Cup, which is the official name of the prize. The women's players have been fighting for the cup since 1979, when Kristin HAGEN won after a final victory against Gina HUNDVEN. For the men, the cup has been awarded ever since 1950 when William REITAN won.
In the men's event, the cup has been awarded every year since the Heros player Reitan won the first time, but the minimum requirement for the number of players has meant that the Kongens Pokal was not awarded in the women's class in 1998 and 2004. Tommy Urhaug and Rolf Erik Paulsen have also won the King's Cup in table tennis when our sport was subject to the Norwegian Sports Association for the Disabled. This association was closed at the end of 2007 when NBTF fully integrated pair table tennis.
Among the Kongepokalen winners we find the very best Norwegian table tennis players in history. Most successful table tennis player with over 60 NM golds, Sonja RASMUSSEN won a total of seven royal trophies.
On the men's side, Geir ERLANDSEN is the most winning player with a total of 13 Kongepokalen, a record that may prove to be very difficult to beat. Geir won his first Kongens Pokal already in 1996 and the last 20 years later. Many generations of table tennis players have come and gone while Geir has won his royal trophies.
The person who has "lost" the most royal trophies is Istvan MOLDOVAN who has been in the final no less than nine times and only one match away from the highest prize in Norwegian table tennis, but he has also won the trophy four times.
Knut HÅVÅG has nine royal trophies, Pål GUTTORMSEN and Tom JOHANSEN have eight each. Reigning champion, Borgar HAUG, with his brand new contract with Europe's best table tennis club Borussia Düsseldorf, has three Kongens Pokal. He is the undoubted favorite in the men's class, but he must win eleven more King's Cups if he is to pass Geir ERLANDSEN.
In the women's event, Sonja RASMUSSEN has the most royal trophies with seven. She also won the NM the year there were a couple of players missing from the class winning the Kongens Pokal. The next on the list are Kristin Hagen DOVAL and Tone FOLKESON with five royal trophies each and Rebekka CARLSEN has four to date. Unfortunately, she is injured and cannot defend the title this year. If she continues for a few more years, she will be able to catch up with Sonja's record streak.
The women's players who have "lost" the most royal trophies are Lill-Kristin WENNBERG (but she also won three), Kristin Hagen DOVAL and Marianne BLIKKEN, all three of whom have been in the final six times. It is a shame that equality came so late to table tennis for Anne Lise HEIDENRICH (Fossum), Berit OMMEDAL and Rigmor SØRENSEN have won women's singles in the National Championships seven, eight and six times respectively and had deserved royal trophies for their achievements. Incidentally, Berit OMMEDAL was on the podium in the National Championships every year in the period 1959 to 1971 and she won seven of those years. Rigmor Sørensen, on the other hand, has NM medals in four different decades. This is her next to Laila Schou Nilsen, who won NM medals in tennis for four decades and also took titles in a number of other sports, in Norwegian sports alone.
In some cases, the Kongens Pokal winners have been sensations. Both Tone FOLKESON and Rebekka CARLSEN won their first Kongens Pokal as teenagers. When Marcus WÆRSTAD won the cup in 2017 by beating clubmate Geir ERLANDSEN in the final, this was described as a surprise. Both also represented Stord. Pål Guttormsen won his first Kongens Pokal while he was a B player!