Christian Schäfer runs a marathon in under two hours!

Paris in the springtime is always great, but Paris Racketlon in October is also pretty damned good. This is especially true for Christian Schäfer, who used the opportunity for a warm-up to get ready for the pending World Championships in Leipzig. With 40+ World Champion and Elite Top-10 player Duncan Stahl waiting for him already in the first round, he was presented a tough challenge. But using his continually improving table tennis skills, he got off to a respectable start, and after a very solid badminton performance, he was already pretty much square going on to face Stahl’s reknowned main strength, squash. A near superhuman performance of accurate shots, grit and determination and a good dose of chasing down almost irretrievable balls saw him finish more or less level. This meant his overwhelming tennis superiority effectively guaranteed him victory. Yes, Stahl did slightly injure himself during squash, but the author was watching the match and can attest that this was not a super-critical factor.

Next up was the German Simon Vaclahovsky, without doubt one of the very best squashers on the Racketlon World Tour. Again a strong badminton performance gave him a +9 lead going into squash. Schäfer’s 4 points in the box might not sound very much, and it might have been easier to just lay down and die, but hats off to Schäfer who refused to give up, producing some spectacular and long ralleys, despite losing nearly all of them. Vaclahovsky must surely have begun to wonder if it was worth asking for the referee to organise drug tests for them both, such was Schäfer’s unrelenting tenacity! Once again, Schäfer’s tennis was his weapon, quickly neutralising the 8 point deficit and cruising to a comfortable victory and a place in the semi-final with a near faultless display.

That his run was then abruptly stopped before tennis by world number two Kresten Hougaard, and a bronze medal denied him by one of the very best badminton players on the World Tour will surely not spoil his feeling that this was a successful tournament!

In Men’s B, Julien Meister fell prey to one of the France’s typically annoyingly good badminton players in the first round, though he did follow this up with a good win over Germany’s Markus Klement and a good fight against GB’s Alex du Noyer. The day before, he hauled in Switzerland’s only (silver) medal in Mens’ B doubles, losing to Vaclahofsky and his partner in the final.

The remaining 3 Swiss managed to avoid each other in the large Men’s C draw. Tristan Breuillé and Valentin Henin largely let their table tennis do the talking and both won more than they lost. No medals, but definitely a success!

Graham King, who surely thought he knew every single player on the World Tour by now, was pitched against a battery of unknown Frenchmen, both in Men’s C and +40 (to which he was reallocated to reduce the +50 draw to a sensible size). Any illusion that the lack of ranking points of these hitherto unheard of players would mean some comfortable victories was quickly and repeatedly blown away, though there were some very hard-fought matches nevertheless. And being taken out of the main draw by the later gold-medal winners in both Men’s C and +40 is perhaps not too discraceful.

As for the tournament itself, it was held in the very large and well-equipped Arthur Ash stadium, with a super-organised and friendly team, a comfortable dining/relaxation area (where the rugby world cup semi-finals were showing on the big screen, yay!), the refreshing delight of cold-showers in the changing rooms, and winning an entry in the Guiness Book of Records for the most masseurs/masseuses that can be squeeezed into 10 square metres, reaching a peak of 8 simultaneusly in action on 4 tables. Definitely worth a visit, being only a short hop away from Switzerland on the TGV, where this short article was written. See you there next year?


Graham King

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Swiss Racketlon Night Tour 2024

SRNT 2024 Plakat

FSR-Rankings courants (1er novembre 2020)

1. Benjamin Gränicher
2. Cédric Junillon
3. Patrick Casanova-Lorenz
4. Christian Schäfer
5. Yannic Andrey
6. Nicolas Lenggenhager
7. Magnus Ekstrand
8. Michael Strässle
9. Nico Hobi
10. Niki Schärrer

1. Nicole Eisler
2. Valeria Pelosini
3. Adeline Kilchenmann

Les rankings actuels vous trouvez ici.