Team compass players Siri Benjegård and Melker Sjösvärd both clinched gold at the Pingisiaden, the unofficial Swedish Championships for U12. In the final, Siri, representing Askim TTC, defeated Laurynne Cabardo – and Melker, representing Linköping, beat Emil Gjörling.
In Sweden the national sports federation has decided that national championships shall not be admitted for kids 12 years old and younger. But unofficially, the Pingisiaden tournament has taken over the status of the national championships for U12.
Siri Benjegård, born in 2011, has already won a bronze and a gold medal in the previous two Pingisiaden and was aiming for her second title this year in the tournament, which is open for players born in 2009 and younger. After winning eight straight matches in straight games in the group stage, the 10-year-old advanced to the semi-finals where she faced Gabriella Aaltonen from Spårvägen, Stockholm. After losing the first game and falling behind in the second, Siri turned the match around and finally won 3-1.
In the final, Laurynne Cabardo from Ängby, Stockholm, was the opponent and again Siri won 3-1, and again she lost the first game but then won three straight games.
”The final was in a high level with a lot of nice rallies”, commented compass expert coach Evelyn Simon, who watched the match on Instagram. ”Both players were very committed and fought hard for the title and pushed each other to great performances.”
Melker Sjösvärd was one of a handful favourites among the boys and marched through the tournament without being at all threaten. Melker lost one game during the group stage but then made the process short in the final, defeating Ängby´s Emil Gjörling at 4, 5 and 7.
”Melker was superior and I am very satisfied with his performance”, said coach L-G Olsson. ”He had very good receives and follow ups which put pressure on the opponent from the very start in the rallies. Melker was safe, he did only few mistakes and his forehand was much more compact and powerful than his opponent´s.”
After winning also the Ängby International tournament in November, Melker Sjösvärd has now established himself as number one in Sweden born in 2009.