Why the table tennis tournament in Montluçon (Allier) has become international

“We wanted to go one step further, to get the city of Montluçon recognized as a bastion of table tennis in terms of organization.”

This weekend, for the first time, the tournament organized by the ASPTT is international in nature. “A small challenge” by Philippe Vekeman, head of the organizing committee, and Xavier-Antoine Michard, president of the sports club.

1,600 euros for the winner

To achieve this, the club has put its hands in its pockets contributing 10,000 euros to the tournament in prizes (cash and rewards), that is, 4,000 euros more than in the 2019 edition. (2020 and 2021 editions canceled due to Covid, editor’s note). The winner of the Elite tournament, which starts tomorrow at 3pm (the final is scheduled for around 9.30pm), will start with an orderly amount of € 1,600.

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More than two hundred players signed up.

“A professional player receives a fixed salary between € 3,500 and € 4,000. In half a day of competition you can pocket € 1,600 ”, observes Philippe Vekeman who knows very well that with vinegar you don’t attract flies.

National and international table tennis expected at the tournament in Montluçon (Allier)

With this endowment, the ASPTT took on two Iranian players and a world-class Italian player, which allowed it to win the international seal. It was also necessary to convince the local authorities, publish specific regulations for the tournament and bring an international referee in the person of Jean-Louis Longèpe.

For several years now, the club has been able to count on twenty loyal volunteers capable of setting up an impeccable organization. Another element to keep in mind is that the sports pavilion is perfectly suited to the practice of table tennis.

Year after year, 60% of players return, it’s no coincidence

Philippe Vekeman (Head of the organizing committee)

The leader can look with satisfaction on the progress made since 1988, the year the tournament was created by Xavier-Antoine Michard and his brother. At that time, the champions were limited to the Auvergne region.

Philippe Vekeman is the head of the tournament organizing committee.

The ASPTT will go up the stairs one by one. First the interregion, the national B, then the national A where we begin to see the first great players in Montluçon as Stéphane Ouaiche, seventh French player, and winner of the tournament in 2017 and 2018.

“We have proved ourselves and today we are attracting very good players. This shows that not only the big cities are able to put on a tournament of this magnitude “, says Philippe Vekeman who would like, in the future, to obtain from the French federation the organization of a great competition like a French championship. .

In figures

Number of players registered during the two days of competition
The number of matrices (A to R). According to their national ranking, determined by points), each player plays on a defined table.

Fabrice Redon

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