The six Victor Racketlon Series champions were crowned as the three-tournament series concluded at the IWT Malta Open.
Morten Jaksland took the Men’s title with Zuzana Severinova snatching the Women’s title despite not playing in Malta. Poland dominated the Challenger Series with Michal Kurek taking the Men’s Challenger title and Katarzyna Myslek the Women’s.
Frank Kleiber fought off the competition to win the Men’s Seniors title while Esther Dubendorfter was the Women’s Seniors champion.
Men’s Standings Champion: Morten Jaksland
Taking part in all three tournaments in the Series, it was always going to be a shootout between World No.1 and No.2 Morten Jaksland and Kresten Hougaard for the title. Heading to Malta they led the standings by a large margin, with the winner of the tournament taking the title.
Hougaard suffered a blow to his chances after he was beaten by Duncan Stahl on Saturday. That left him needing a crushing win over Jaksland on Sunday in order to win. It was not to be though, with Jaksland beating Hougaard to take both the IWT Malta Open title and the Victor Racketlon Series Men’s crown.
It was little surprise that Jaksland won, after he won both the IWT Malta Open and IWT Latvian Open, as well as finishing 4th at the IWT Berlin Open. Hougaard finished in second with Stahl completing the podium in third.
Despite only taking up racketlon one year ago, Michal Kurek put in a sublime effort to finish fourth in the standings. IWT Berlin Open champion Rav Rykowski completed the top five. Ray Jordan, Loic Cencig, Leon Griffiths, Arturs Zaicevs and Cornelius Radermacher were the other players to make up the rest of the top-10.
Women’s Standings Champion: Zuzana Severinova
Unlike most of the other categories, the Women’s champion was already crowned before Malta. Zuzana Severinova’s title at the IWT Latvian Open and second place in Berlin was enough for her to have an unassailable lead.
Amke Fischer was the only player who could reach the Women’s podium but she fell just short after a third-place finish in Malta. She ended up in fourth place, just behind Anna-Klara Ahlmer in second and Margaux Randjbar in third. Latvia’s Viktorija Ratacova rounded out the top-five.
Astrid Reimer-Kern and Christine Seehofer finished tied-sixth after winning the Berlin and Malta titles respectively. Izzy Bramhall, Hannah Boden and Katarzyna Myslek finished in 8th, 9th and 10th. A special mention to Myslek for being the only woman to compete in all three tournaments.
Men’s Challengers Standings Champion: Michal Kurek
There was little contest in the Men’s Challenger standings with Michal Kurek the runaway winner. Coming into Malta, the Pole was the co-leader with Philip Pedersen after winning the Men’s B at the IWT Berlin Open. Entry into the Men’s A in Latvia meant those points didn’t count towards the Challenger rankings.
However, in Malta Kurek was back in B and knew he didn’t need too many wins for the title. That didn’t stop Kurek from strolling to the Men’s B title once again.
The No.3 seed, while having some competitive matches, was never truly challenged as he won the Men’s B title. That left him the clear Men’s Challenger Champion.
After taking part in all three tournaments, Jean Michot took silver in this category with Denmark’s Michael Skytte Pedersen completing the podium. After winning the Latvia Men’s B title, Philip Pedersen finished fourth with Gregor David fifth.
The other players to make the top ten were Patrick Oettl, Jesper Hedlund, Matej Dohnal, Jimmy Tay and Julien Meister, none of who were competing in Malta.
Women’s Challengers Standings Champion: Katarzyna Myslek
Coming into Malta as the outright leader, it was hard to look past Poland’s Myslek for the Women’s Challenger title. The draw though, through up an interesting challenge, as she began against one of her rivals, Carola Von Heimburg. A loss for Myslek to Von Heimburg in the opening round opened the door for her opponent.
Von Heimburg and Zuzana Vancurkova were both suddenly in contention to snatch the first place away from Myslek at the last minute. However, in order to do that, both had to win the title and hope that Myslek finished last.
Vancurikova was the first to be dealt a blow as she was beaten in the first round by Katrin Maldre. Similarly, Von Heimburg’s challenge faded as she was beaten in the semi-finals by eventual Women’s B champion Esther Dubendorfer. That left Myslek as the champion of the Women’s Challenger Series.
Von Heimburg did finish second while Dubendorfer’s title propelled her up to third in the standings. Vancurikova fell to fourth with Maxi Karg and Kaisu Anttila in joint-fifth. Anete Zabere, Stine Krogose, Linnea Koskinen And Svetlana Kasilova also finished in the top ten.
Men’s Seniors Standings Champion: Frank Kleiber
There was some initial confusion about the scoring for the Men’s Seniors Standings. However, after a recount, it was realised that Frank Kleiber was the Men’s Seniors champion. As Kleiber and Graham King were the only two players to play in all three tournaments, they were always likely to be prime contenders.
The proved to be the case with both ending up on the final podium. While Kleiber finished with gold after a third-place finish in the Seniors +40, King ended up claiming bronze.
Richard Hobzik leapt over King into second after winning the Seniors +40 title. Second-place in the Seniors +40 was enough to move Ulrich Schlepphorst into fourth while Jacob Steinmetz finished fifth.
The rest of the top-10 were made up of players not in Malta, with Par Gunnar Mattsson, Peter Sakovics, Tommi Laine, Juho Vuorinen and Erik Botvidson completing the line-up.
Women’s Seniors Standings Champion: Esther Dubendorfer
With only one Women’s Seniors event taking place across the three tournaments this was the easiest Victor Racketlon Series category to score. As the champion of that event, Esther Dubendorfer is the Women’s Seniors Standings champions. Carola Von Heimburg takes the silver with Zuzana Vancurikova in bronze.
Congratulations to everyone who competed in the IWT Berlin Open, IWT Latvian Open and IWT Malta Open and a special congratulations to all those who won Victor Racketlon prizes.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image Credit / Duncan Stahl