Seehofer and Rykowski are European Champions
Expectations were running high: No less than European Champion was acceptable to Racketlon World Champion and World-number-one-ranked player Christine Seehofer at the 2. FIR European Racketlon Championships presented by Babolat, which took place from August 30 to September 3, 2017 in Vienna. And the 22-year-old did not disappoint her fans’ and the organizers’ expectations, who were present for the Final of the European Championships at the City & Country Club Wienerberg, or in front of their TVs. The Final match against her Doubles partner Natalie Paul, with whom Seehofer had won her first EC Gold of the tournament, was plain sailing for the best current female Racketlon player: +20 (TT: 21-10, BA: 18-21, SQ: 21-8, TE: 1-2).
One Point Sufficient in Tennis
Christine Seehofer started off powerfully against Natalie Paul in the Final game of the ESS ENGINEERING SOFTWARE STEYR Women A – Elite Singles, leading 11-0 in Table Tennis when the break was called. But the German fought back, made ten points and thus kept the game open. In her best discipline Badminton, Paul was able to gain a 21-18 victory, leading to an eight point difference between the Double European Champions ahead of Squash. After a good start for 24-year-old Paul, the two years younger Seehofer took charge of the game and dominated in the Squash glass court, which had been constructed especially for the European Championships. The German could achieve eight points and move ahead to Tennis, where only one point was missing for the Lower Austrian’s tournament win. After two good points for Paul, Seehofer attacked at the first opportunity and with a smash, took her title of European Champion.
First-Ever Racketlon Live Broadcast on National Television
“There is of course a lot of pressure to win at home. I am really happy that I was able to hold up and gain my European Champion title. It was a great tournament with a unique Centre Court. I had a lot of fun playing here, in front of a big audience and even on live TV,” said Seehofer. For the first time in the history of Racketlon, a final was broadcast live on national TV. Oliver Polzer of the Austrian public broadcasting agency ORF and former World Champion Christoph Krenn moderated the final day of the so far biggest event in the history of the four-racket-sport consisting of Table Tennis, Badminton, Squash and Tennis. Also on Facebook and laola1.tv, the live broadcast of the EC was gathering publicity for Racketlon.
Broadcast of the Finals
The Duel of Generations Went to Rykowski
Ahead of the Womens’ Final, 17-year-old Leon Griffiths of Great Britain and 34-year-old Pole Rav Rykowski faced each other in the final game of the ECO SECURE Men A – Elite Singles in a duel of generations. Griffiths had established a nine point lead in Table Tennis and Badminton and was also able to keep up during the third discipline Squash, Rykowski’s best discipline. But the mind coach from Wrocław kept his nerve, winning 21-6 and gaining a six point lead for Tennis. The two players developed a heated exchange. Surprisingly, it was Rykowski who was dictating the game against the Briton, who had been assumed to be the favorite for Tennis. The Pole scored with unconventional strokes, and his drop shots from the wrist made the audience gasp. At the second match ball, Griffiths missed a backhand. The result: +10 (TT: 15-21, BA: 18-21, SQ: 21-6, TE: 16-12). It was the first tournament victory ever for Rykowski on the international Racketlon tour. “It was the best-organised tournament that I have ever played at. That’s what enabled my victory. I am extremely happy. The future of this sport surely belongs to Leon. But perhaps I can still play at this level for a while, ” said the Pole.
Gold and Bronze for Austria in the Mens’ Double
In the morning, the Austrian pair Lukas Windischberger and Michi Dickert had scored Gold in the HARING-GROUP Men A – Elite Doubles. In the final game, the Lower Austrian pair defeated the number-one-pair from Denmark Kresten Hougaard/Morten Jaksland +12 (TT: 23-21, BA: 21-16, SQ: 21-18, TE: 12-10). “With two times Gold (in Doubles and Teams) and one time Silver (in Mixed Doubles) I have after all become the most successful among the men in this tournament. I am really happy that I could gain one of the biggest titles in this sport together with Michi,” said Lukas Windischberger. Bronze in Doubles went to RFA president Marcel Weigl and Georg Stoisser. On Saturday night, the RFA team had won Gold in the Teams competition. World Champion Denmark was defeated by 43 points.
Further Singles Champions
On the final day of tournament, the remaining matches in Singles were also decided. The NV-VERSICHERUNG Women B – Amateurs competitions was won by Hélène Lechemolle. Silver went to Jannie Erbs Eriksen (DEN). Bronze went to Julia Pabisch (AUT). The CHARITY NEPAL Men B – Advanced Champion went to Jörn Sültrup (GER), ahead of Joakim Hellgren (SWE) and Patrik Žák (CZE). The ASVÖ NÖ Men C – Amateur Bewerb was won by Racketlon-Split-European Champion Tommi Laine (FIN) with a victory in the final against Mandrin Mouchet (FRA). Luke, Leon Griffiths younger brother, became third. In the BLAZEK & PLAJER Men D – Beginners competitions, Fritz Thausing (AUT) won Gold, Silver went to Dennis Fuhrmann (GER), Bronze went to Marek Hrůza (CZE). At the OVB TEAM THAUSING Men E – Fresh Starters, only Austrians had entered the competition. Michael Wutzl managed the seemingly impossible: He made good on a 18-points deficit in Tennis and won Gold! Nikolaus Nadrchal was left with Silver, Bronze went to Michael Wieczorek.
In the Medal Table of the European Championships (incl. Juniors, Seniors, Elite, Amateurs) after 48 competitions, Great Britain ranks number one with 11 Gold, 6 Silver and 4,5 Bronze medals (if Champions come from different nations, the medal counts 0,5). Second rank goes to Austria, which won the most medals overall (30), of which 10,5 were Gold, 10 Silver, 9,5 Bronze. Germany comes third with 8 Gold, 10 Silver, and 5,5 Bronze.