Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the moment of victory
Photo By: An
2012 Olympic Games
A silver medallist in the Menís Team event in Beijing's Peking University four years earlier, Germanyís Dimitrij Ovtcharov added to his collection of Olympic medals on the afternoon of Thursday 2nd August.
He secured bronze in the Menís Singles competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games by beating Chinese Taipeiís Chuang Chih-Yuan to secure the third step of the medal podium.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov won in six tension packed and hard fought games (12-10, 9-11, 8-11, 13-11, 11-6, 14-12).
The victory recorded by the German means that he becomes the fifth European to win a Menís Singles medal at an Olympic Games.
In Seoul in 1988, Swedenís Erik Lindh secured third place beating Hungaryís Tibor Klampar.
Four years later in Barcelona, Swedenís Jan-Ove Waldner overcame Franceís Jean-Philippe Gatien in the final, before in 1996 in Atlanta it was the coach on duty with Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the ExCeL Arena who secured the precious bronze medal.
JŲrg Rosskopf accounted for Petr Korbel to claim the precious third prize. Once again in Sydney, it was Jan-Ove Waldner who mounted the podium but this time it was silver; he was beaten in the final by Kong Linghui.
Menís Singles medals for Europeans in the first four editions of the Olympic Games but since that time, the cupboard has been bare until on the seventh day of play at the London Olympic Games, the drought was ended by Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
Furthermore, he becomes only one of four European men to own two Olympic medals.
In addition to Menís Singles successes of Jan-Ove Waldner, JŲrg Rosskopf won Menís Doubles silver with Steffen Fetzner in 1992; whilst in 2000 Jean-Philippe Gatien secured Menís Doubles bronze in harness with Patrick Chila.
The only other Europeans to secure Olympic medals are Denmarkís Michael Maze and Finn Tugwell. They clinched bronze in Athens in 2004; whilst in 2008 in Beijing Timo Boll and Christian SŁss were the silver medal winning Menís Team mates of Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
Against Chuang Chih-Yuan in the ExCeL Arena it was Chuang Chih-Yuan who made the better start; he won the first five points of the first game just as he had done in opposition to Chinaís Wang Hao in the semi-final earlier in the day.
However, in a similar vein to Wang Hao, Dimitrij Ovtcharov recovered and held game points before Chuang Chih-Yuan converted.
Chuang Chih-Yuan responded to win the next two games, before in the fourth game came the pivotal moment. He led 10-8, he was on the verge of three games to one lead; then a top spin stroke from Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the faintest of edges, a coat of paint.
The score moved to 10-9, Dimitrij Ovtcharov leveled and progressed to win the game.
Would the end result have been different without that moment of fortune? We will never know.
Nevertheless, Dimitrij Ovtcharov seized the opportunity. He progressed to win the match and to pocket the bronze medal; success for Germany.
Success for Germany and with the team events now starting Dimitrij Ovtcharov has the chance to become the owner of more medals in the table tennis events at the Olympic Games.
Three Medals Possible
Germany is seeded no.3 in the Menís Team competition; Dimitrij Ovtcharov lines up alongside Timo Boll and Bastian Steger.
Only Timo Boll
If Germany can win a medal of any colour, Dimitrij Ovtcharov will have as total of three.
The only other European player competing in either the Menís or Womenís Team event who has an Olympic medal to his credit is Timo Boll, the Menís Team silver won in Beijing four years ago.
Members of the royal family were present for the medal matches in the Menís Singles event.
Prince Philip (left) and Prince Edward (centre) spoke to Neil Harwood, ITTF Deputy President (right)
Members of the ITTF Professional staff, Glenn Tepper (left) and Steve Dainton (right) are in the background
Photo by Mariann Domonkos