While the Racketlon community will be enjoying the thrilling matches lining up in both Men’s and Women’s Elite draws, the bulk of us will be also battling on court either in the Junior and Senior classes or in the B, C, D and E draws.
Whether you are knocking on the door of the elite in the B grades, a junior learning your trade as you work your way up through the ranks or simply the enthusiast – the lynchpin of our sport – every draw from Women’s B to Men’s E is a crucial component of our 2019 FIR World Championships. So, without further ado, let us look ahead to the six draws in the Men’s B-E and Women’s B-C classes.
Men’s B: A Grade Experience Peppers Enticing Men’s B Draw!
48 players from 14 different nations will contest the Men’s B, with a World Ranking of 66 required to be a seeded player in this draw. 16th seed Guus Van De Burgt (Ned) is the last player to get a first-round bye. This perhaps shows the quality of the 2019 Men’s B draw.
The top seeds in this draw are all well known. Austria’s Roland Pichler will be the top seed, with a brace of Frenchmen, Loic Cencig (second) and Antony Duthille (fourth) seeded split by Finland’s Tommi Laine. With other well-known names including Luke Barnes (GB), Korbinian Heim (Ger) and Uldis Dzirkalis (Lat) also amongst the seeds there is a host of experienced Racketlon talent on display.
The seeds may all be coming from our established Racketlon nations, but there is a brace of Indian’s in the draw who will be looking to ruffle the establishment feathers. Chief amongst them is Adarsh Narayanaswamy. He opens up against James Langworthy, with the victor facing top seed Pichler. Compatriot Amarendu Srivastava begins against Austrian Philipp Patzelt, with the winner facing 11th seed Alex Du Noyer (GB). The Indian explosion on the Racketlon scene over the past 12 months is one of the stories of the year. Will their B-grade players add to this gripping script in Leipzig?
Women’s B: World Champions and Unblemished Records – But Who Will Crown a Wonderful 2019?
A 16 draw Women’s B event is headed by top seed Stine Krogsoe (Den) with the experienced Carola von Heimberg (Ger) as second seed. However, there is a huge stack of talent in this draw, with Great Britain’s Matilda Parslow (three titles out of three on the 2019 World Tour) and Germany’s Anita Voelkel (2019 Women’s B and Mixed B World Doubles Champion).
For Voelkel, her first test is an opening round fixture against third-seeded Swiss Tanja Omlin, with the winner of their game facing the winner of Parslow against Nienke Veldkamp (Ned). If Matilda and Anita win through, a tasty quarter-final between 2019’s most successful Women’s B players could be on the menu! Eighth seed Katarzyna Myslek (Pol) won the inaugural Victor Women’s Challenger Series edging out second-seeded Carola. If Myslek can see off the challenge of the popular Czech Hana Rabova, then she could set up a quarter-final tie against von Heimburg. That is if von Heimburg comes past GB’s Lindsay Farge.
As a result, both the top and bottom of these draws have intriguing matchups on the cards, with a number of players having had exceptional years. Who will make it an even better year by winning a Women’s B World Title?
Men’s C: Men’s C Looks Wide Open!
64 men from 16 countries will line up in a Men’s C draw headed by GB’s Johnny Bispham. Bispham is joined at the top of the seedings by Bastian Holzhauser (Ger), Rafal Szlazak (Pol) and Bertrand Carlier (Fra), who are second to fourth seeds respectively. The rest of the seedings feature a host of experienced names including Patrick Burgi (Swi), Tim Vaclahovsky (Ger), Erik Roelofsen (Ned) and Thomas Olsson (Swe).
This draw that mixes stalwarts of the FIR World Tour, rising young stars and a few debutants playing their first event. Whoever wins will come through 6 rounds of matches against an array of players with a range of styles. Entering into the C-grade, where all players will have a weak sport, the matching of a players profile and their temperament becomes ever more crucial. The player who emerges victorious will have weathered a few storms and retained the mental resilience to forge a path to victory.
Women’s C: Home Hopefuls and International Pride – Who Will Claim the Women’s C Title?
16 women will compete in the Women’s C which will be led by top seed Susan Rutschmann (Swi) . She will start against British junior Alexandra Ogram. With a host of home players in the draw, it is no surprise that three German’s, – Valerie Nesenhoner (second), Heidi Gebhardt (third) and Nicole Bohn (fourth) – fill out the rest of the seedings. In addition to the five Germans are 6 Brits and they are also joined by the only Australian entry at this year’s World Championships, Lisa Hubbard. The draw is completed by two Indians and a Czech. Even the Women’s C is a truly global event, further evidence of the growth in Racketlon outside of its traditional European home.
Men’s D: Home Hopeful as Top Seed
Vincent David has the honour of being the only home player to be top seed in the A-E draws in Leipzig as he leads the line in the Men’s D. Second seed is Great Britain’s Mike Gladders whilst Ferry Nesenhoner (Ger) and Prashant Sen (Ind) are the third and fourth seeds in this 39 man event.
Also in the mix is defending Men’s +65s World Champion Steen Hesselbjerg who will be the sixth seed. This draw features a real mix of players from the enthusiast in their only event through to the veteran adding an additional few matches to their schedule.
Men’s E: A Greek, a Brit, Danes and Austrians Out To Spoil First-Timers Home Party
The Men’s E – First Timers event is normally the domain of the host nation. But if a German player wishes to ensure a home country Gold medal they will have to deal with some international talent. Chief among them is the top seed, Victor Solomon (Gre) who is joined in the seedings by Bob Tink (GB) who is the second seed and Mathias Schilling (Aut) as the fourth seed.
A home seeding is present – third seed Andreas Ziemer. But with a brace of unseeded Danes and a second Austrian in the mix also, the German hopefuls will be forced to overcome a range of challenges if they want to secure a domestic Gold. This author, however, is just keen on a semi-final meet up between Bob Tink and Torsten Fink (Ger) for some rhyming fun!
That concludes our round-up of the B, C, D and E classes at this year’s 2019 Racketlon World Championships. With 180 players taking part in these classes, there will be a lot of Racketlon to be played. I’m sure everyone one of these players will be raring to go.
James Pope / FIR Contributor
Image Credit / Rene Zwald