Nordhorn Classic Open 2023 at 03./04.06.2023

Jens Mitzlaff wins three of four possible titles at the Nordhorn Classic Open

Nordhorn (HH). With the victories of Lars Brinkhaus (SC Marklohe) in the Hardbat I singles and Simon Offermann (TTC Brauweiler) in the Sandpaper I singles, there were new title holders in the two main classes at the 20th edition of the Nordhorn Classic Open, the most important tournament for classical table tennis in Germany. The most successful player was Jens Mitzlaff from SV Motor Wolgast, the player with the longest journey, who won three of the four finals.

For the sixth time, organiser SV Vorwärts Nordhorn had uniform rackets used on both days of the tournament. No player was allowed to use his own racket, but had to play with the bat lying on the table. Absolute equality of opportunity was thus guaranteed. Both finalists on Saturday know this rule well, as they are permanent participants in the Nordhorn tournament. Old master Ulrich Watermann (TuS Bexterhagen) did not manage to win the individual final even in his fourth attempt. Former Nordhorn player Lars Brinkhaus was clearly superior in his second appearance in the final, but could not prevent Ulrich Watermann's seventh doubles success in total in the subsequent doubles final. Playing alongside Jan Wienholz from Mecklenburg, the former Steinhagen second division player set this new record.

The 35-year-old Oberliga player Brinkhaus was also seen as a co-favourite on Sunday, when uniform sandpaper rackets were used as they were 100 years ago. But in the sandpaper final he had to acknowledge the superiority of Simon Offermann, three years younger than him, who was competing in Nordhorn for the first time and, after winning the singles title, also secured the doubles alongside his team mate Johannes Hinrichs - against Brinkhaus, who here, together with Jan Wienholz, was defeated for the third time in his fourth final of the weekend.

Also in all four finals was Jens Mitzlaff from Wolgast in the second highest tournament class. On Saturday, he confidently went his rounds in the Hardbat II competition and on Sunday, after winning the Sandpaper II singles against Marten Falentin (TTC Brauweiler), he was only stopped in the last match of the day in the Sandpaper II doubles. Marco Knospe from SV Vorwärts Nordhorn, who had lost in the Hardbat singles on Saturday, made sure of that. In the doubles final, he defended the doubles title he had won last year with Hendrik Gerrietzen (TV Sundwig) by winning 15:12, 15:12.

The local players were not able to continue their success of the last years in the lower Hardbat classes. Michael Günther (TTC Osterfeld) from Oberhausen, for example, won both titles in Hardbat III at his first tournament start in Nordhorn, and in Hardbat IV singles, the largest tournament class of the weekend, Philipp Schuhmann (SG Suderwich) won straight away. Tim Welling (SSC Dodesheide), who lost in the singles final, did not suffer in the doubles alongside Jannis Lakemeier (TTC Lengerich).

For the first time since the introduction of the sandpaper classes in 2014, only German players competed in the anniversary tournament. The guests from the Netherlands, Belgium and France, who dominated the two main classes Hardbat I and Sandpaper I in the last few years, had not entered this time after the three-year Corona interruption. While the response on the Saturday of the tournament in the Hardbat classes was satisfactory, the number of 20 starters on Sunday in the Sandpaper classes was not convincing. In both cases, there may even be a connection with the end of the World Championships of Ping Pong in London, which were held for the last time in 2020 and could lead to a decline in interest in the sport of sandpaper. Regardless of this, SV Vorwärts Nordhorn will start recruiting participants for the next tournament earlier than this time.