He is one of the greatest table tennis players of all time.
Now JO Waldner is being honored – with a tournament of his own, where the world’s best will participate.
– I am proud, he tells Expressen.
JO Waldner is the pioneer from Stockholm who changed ping-pong. China were completely superior until Waldner’s arrival, and he is still known as the player who broke the Chinese dominance, and for that is still a celebrated legend in the great country.
Waldner won everything there was to win and to this day he is a cult figure in the sport. In Sweden, he is one of the greatest athletes of all time – and now comes another receipt of what a fantastic piece he actually was in table tennis. In golf, the Ryder Cup has long been one of the most prestigious and valued tournaments in the world, where the USA meets Europe every two years.
Now the ping-pong game is getting its own edition, where Asia will meet the rest of the world. The name of the tournament, which will be played for the first time already at the end of November, in Stockholm, will be the Waldner Cup.
– The Waldner Cup will be big and a recurring competition. It is already clear that several large television companies from Asia will broadcast the matches, says one of the founders of the tournament, Nils Marius Otterstad, to Expressen.
READ MORE: Jan-Ove Waldner is in a real bush mood and fools his poor opponent perfectly: “Haha, his reaction…”
The stars participate
In this year’s edition of the tournament, where five players are on each team, Ma Long, with four Olympic golds and eleven World Cup titles, will be among others. Truls Möregårdh and Timo Boll will also participate for the “rest of the world” team. For JO Waldner, it is a dream come true.
– The world’s best player is coming. It feels very good and honouring, says Jan-Ove Waldner. The players are super excited to come to Stockholm.
According to the organizers, several countries around the world are now queuing up to organize the next edition, but how often the tournament will be played is currently unknown. It is not common for Chinese players to participate in invitational tournaments outside China, which only makes the tournament even bigger.
– It feels wonderful, I’m proud, says Jan-Ove Waldner.
READ MORE: When JO Waldner did the completely impossible – and decided a match with the most daring blow