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Table tennis icon Marlies Somers led Hotak’68 to the national title | Regional sports

1962-2021In the eighties of the last century, Hotak’68 started a sporty advance towards the premier league of women’s table tennis. The Hoogerheiden troops were led by local hero Marlies Somers-Van Happen. The national championship was won in 1987 and in that season Somers also captured the national title in the women’s doubles with Emily Noor.




On Tuesday – three days after her 59th birthday – the life of the figurehead of the club came to an end at home in Hoogerheide after a short illness.

“I can still see her entering my class”, says Jan van Elzakker. “A very bright and sporty girl of 12 with a lot of drive.” The two therefore found each other at Hotak’68, where teacher Van Elzakker was the equally fanatical trainer. “It all started with Marlies”, says Van Elzakker about the club’s glory years.

After winning the title, Somers, Noor and José Bongers were driven through the village in an open landau. The European Cup duels drew full, noisy halls the following season. Noor and Bongers came from elsewhere. Somers was the hub and magnet of the team. The Hoogerheiden was so good as a fast attacker that a youthful talent like Emily Noor came from Someren to Hotak’68 to hunt for the title together with her.

In those years, Dutch table tennis was dominated by players such as Bettine Vriesekoop, Mirjam Hooman and Gerdie Keen. “Marlies was just below that”, says Van Elzakker. “And that with only six hours of training a week. Vriesekoop trained six hours a day. ” The club could not offer her more at the time.

Brother Ton van Happen assures that it never bothered his sister: “She accepted things as they came by. Until the end of her life. ”

Despite some competition trips to Tanaka and Vice Versa, Somers has always remained connected to Hotak’68. She played in the first team for two decades, almost took the national title as a coach ten years ago and led the club until her death as chairman.

Marlies Somers also made a career outside table tennis. At ABNAmro she rose to a position at the head office in Amsterdam. “She liked to look for new challenges”, says brother Ton. Trainer Jan van Elzakker can only confirm this. “As I taught her as a teacher, she has always remained: driven with a wide range of interests.”

Table tennis icon Marlies Somers led Hotak’68 to the national title | Regional sports
Source link Table tennis icon Marlies Somers led Hotak’68 to the national title | Regional sports

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