Quickly approaching his adult years, Truls Moregard’s stock is already tremendously high and continues to rise year upon year. The plaudits are not undeserved with the slick teenage ace showing the world what he’s capable of on countless occasions to date.
Moregard has been tearing up the international scene for a few years now with his runner-up finish in the Under-15 category at the 2016 European Youth Championships signalling the start of something special. While the Under-15 title eluded him, Moregard finally retrieved gold at the tournament with his Under -18 success last year in Ostrava beating Azerbaijan’s Yu Khinhang to the title.
In 2018 Moregard became the first Swedish player to win the junior boys’ singles title at a Swedish World Junior Circuit tournament. One year later he retained the crown, won the Elite class at Safir, and beat Mattias Falck and Kristian Karlsson to the men’s singles title at the Swedish National Championships, all in the space of 11 incredible days.
Moregard has also accompanied his country’s most elite players, finishing third at the 2018 World Team Championships. He was also the Under-21 runner-up at the 2018 World Tour German Open.
However, if there’s one competition in particular that the Swede has really made a name for himself, it’s the World Junior Championships. Heading to the Riva del Garda in 2017 as no.17 seed, Moregard negotiated group stage action before overcoming five difficult main draw fixtures as he became the first European to reach the final since 2008. Last month in Korat, Moregard replicated his performance from two years previous to show the world that he’s more than just a one-hit wonder.
Much water has flowed under the bridge since legendary names such as Jörgen Persson and Jan-Ove Waldner bid their farewells to international table tennis, but finally it seems Swedish table tennis is beginning to find its way back to the very top of the sport – a point very much emphasised at the World Table Tennis Championships last April.
Seeded 16th, and very much an outsider in the title race, Mattias Falck defied the odds to become the first Swede to reach the men’s singles final in 22 years and only the sixth player from his country to achieve the feat in the tournament’s history.
Halted by China’s Ma Long at the final hurdle but Falck returned home a hero. A landmark moment for Falck and an encouraging one too for the Swedish table tennis community.
Kristian Karlsson has also done his country proud on many an occasion with his highlight moment surely coming at the 2016 Men’s World Cup, claiming an impressive fourth position finish in Saarbrücken. Then there’s Anton Källberg, another exciting young prospect with great ambitions and undeniable talent.
When it comes to the country’s younger generation it’s Moregard who leads the way and with the celebration of his 18th birthday next month, the transition towards the senior game starts to become that little bit more serious.
Moregard looks certain to develop into another fine player from the Swedish ranks over the next few years but what will his career path look like in 10 years’ time?
The sky is the limit when it comes to potential and who knows, maybe we will see his name challenging for the sport’s most sought after trophies in the not too distant future.
Story by Simon Daish