Participation to the World Championships, Singles 2021, Oct. 21-24.
This time I, Dany Lessard, was the only Canadian at the tournament.
The Canada flag was on display besides 20 other country flags. I wish we would have been more Canadians, but with the Covid situation, it was normal to have fewer players. Many thanks to Esther Dübendrofer, Michi Müllerand the organization team for a great tournament at the Silhsports center in Zurich. Lots of news, results and videos of this tournament can be found at www.racketlon.net.
I finished 6thin the category 60 years and above and 8thin +55. I did not bring back any medals, but great memories… I have no regrets on playing two age categories on the same day. Even though it was hard, it gave me a chance to test my limits, and I was 95% okay after the first day. The only problem was that with the missing 5%, a hurting calf, I could not move at ease and had to forfeit the last matches, one in each category, for a possibility to improve by one position. I played a total of 6 matches, 5 of them on the first day.
The match I considered most important was against Marty Langford, seeded second in the category +60. It was the first encounter between us. I had waited until my trip to Zurich had begun to check his profile and I thought it could be a close match if I played well. I won table tennis and badminton, being satisfied with both disciplines. Then he won squash, keeping me at 7 points only, and he dominated the tennis, to win the match. Although I had practiced tennis, I realized that I need to practice a different tennis game, more offensive to give myself more options in the future and to make it more difficult for my opponents to move me around. For my 4thmatch of the day, I played first seeded player in the category 55+, Christian Boener from Germany.
My mind and body were working in harmony, being comfortable in all situations, and I won by a good margin. Christian did not play his best and he was disapointed with his performance, but as we discussed afterward, participation, sportsmanship and friendship are more important than the results.
We both love this sport.
Playing on the center court was nice also with a referee for each discipline. Here are a couple of photos of both of us. Then a couple of hours after this victorious match came a reality check, and the wind changed direction. I played the quarter finals against Avi Shemri from Israel in the category +55. He took control of the match and never looked back, finishing before tennis. He is very fit and plays each sport every week. This new friend is an inspiration for me, and I wish to meet him again at another tournament.
At my age, there are not many people interested in my future goals on racketlon, and as my friend Avi Shemri said, ‘It is hard to improve at our age’. Nevertheless, when I played at the 2019 world championships in Germany, I decided that I would continue playing because I love playing the game and I like the competition, the challenges. In 2019, I was seeded 4thin the +60 category and finished 4thin that category. My goal is to do as well or better in 2024 and 2025, in the first couple of years of my eligibility in the category +65. Until then I will continue showing up on the courts and playing some tournaments and I am thankful for it. I find that there is as much fun in preparation for a tournament as during the tournament. with the training and the expectations.
By: Dany Lessard