Lausanne, Oct 9, 2013: Swedish six-times world table tennis champion and Olympic gold medalist Jan-Ove WALDNER has received the honour of becoming the first living foreigner to feature on a Chinese postage stamp.
“It is a great honour,” the 1992 Olympic gold medallist said.
The initiative is the result of a cooperation between the postal service in Sweden and in China and the stamps were released on sale last week. The stamp features the sporting legend preparing to serve.
“They have already sold three million and they have 13 million more to sell,” Waldner added. “It’s huge, it doesn’t get much bigger than this in China.”
Waldner, who retired from the sport at the age of 46 in 2012, remains one of the best-known foreign sports stars in China. A series of battles against Chinese players in the 1990s made the Swede a household name.
“An honour for Swedish sports, an honour for Swedish table tennis and of course an honour for J-O Waldner himself!” said Petra Sörling, the recently elected ITTF Vice President responsible for Finance. “No European athlete is to compare with Waldner in China.”
Despite his best years being long since past, Waldner remains a familiar face in the table-tennis crazy country and is known affectionately by the nickname “Lao Wa”, meaning “Old Waldner”. His commercial interests in China include a restaurant serving up Swedish meatballs in Beijing. —- Photo by sverigesradio.se