With Jacques Secrétin, a legend of table tennis disappears and even more.
Multiple champion of France, European and world champion of table tennis
(Editor's note: in mixed doubles with Claude Bergeret in 1977)
, he died last night, at the age of 71.
Born on March 18, 1949 in Carvin, in the mining area of northern France, son of a school principal, this left-hander has dedicated his whole life to table tennis to which he was introduced as a child - "fell into it, like Obelix ”, he will say.
Secrétin is first of all the longest list of French table tennis, with 17 titles of champion of France between 1966 and 1986, and one of European champion in 1976.
The success and notoriety of "the child of the ball", the title of his autobiography, paved the way for Jean-Philippe Gatien, the best Frenchman of the next generation, who was vice-Olympic champion in Barcelona in 1992.
Jacques Secrétin, pioneer of French table tennis, died at 71 (official) #AFP #AFPSports pic.twitter.com/PtVnx5VNSe
- Agence France-Presse (@afpfr) November 25, 2020
Beyond outright competition, Secrétin has also been a showman and an ambassador for his discipline.
He wanted to compete in the Veterans World Championships
In duet with another French champion, Vincent Purkart, the Secrétin-Purkart show has delivered more than 4000 performances around the world with the TT Show, the counterpart of the Harlem Globetrotters table tennis version.
Thanks to their jokes around a ping-pong table, the two men "have traveled around the world 7 times" according to Secrétin and have gone to the doors of a casino in Las Vegas.
However, Jacques Secrétin refused to go, for fear of sacrificing his sports career.
Still active in table tennis, Secrétin multiplied the exhibitions in his sport in which he left a big imprint.
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Still licensed at CP Lys-lez-Lannoy, Secrétin, lived in Tourcoing.
A few months ago, in La Voix des Sports, he declared: "To settle down a little more, that will be part of my next years ..." "I think I am the only athlete to have met all the presidents of the Fifth Republic.
I was received by De Gaulle when I was only 13 years old, ”he confided to the regional daily.
The FFTT is
sad to announce the disappearance of Jacques Secrétin.
Called for the first time in the France team at the age of 13, this Ping monument was the author of an incredible record: 61 times French champion [more] pic.twitter.com/V6tztNU8kK
- FFTT (@ffttofficiel) November 25, 2020
Last June, he still planned to participate in the Veterans World Championships
(Editor's note: canceled due to the pandemic)
“This will be my last challenge, but that will not prevent me from continuing to play, he said.
Holding a racket is important to me.
Secrétin, father of three, has never let go of the snowshoes.
Until the end of his life, he continued to visit French clubs, initiate young people or hit balls in prisons with inmates.
Last night, he therefore joined his show partner, Vincent Purkart, who died five years ago, also in November.