14 Oct 2016

England caused arguably one of the biggest shocks of the year when they left the 2016 World Team Championships with an unexpected Men's Team bronze medal.

Then the same three players who represented England at the World Team Championships impressed yet again, this time competing as Great Britain at Rio 2016. Liam Pitchford was one of those three competitors, and is hoping to provide his country with yet more success when he takes to the Liebherr 2016 European Championships stage.

by Simon Daish

Looking to Travel Further

Liam Pitchford has been seeded 22nd for the 2016 European Championships in Budapest, three seeded places down from the 2015 event where he exited to the top seed Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER) in a thrilling Round of 16 encounter. But Pitchford won’t particularly mind about his lower seeding in Budapest and is feeling more confident this time around, “Last time out I went to the last 16 in the singles and I was playing pretty well, but I had a tough match against Ovtcharov which I was disappointed to lose.”

“My aim is to go further this time” added Pitchford. “We’ve seen in the last few European Championships the likes of Pär Gerell (SWE) win a medal (Men’s Singles bronze at 2015 European Championships), and we’ve proven that we can compete at that level. If I play well, I feel anything is possible.”

Doubles Silverware Opportunity?

There is also a spot for Liam Pitchford in the Men’s Doubles competition who will partner with fellow Englishman Paul Drinkhall, and while the duo may not be the highest ranked combination taking part at the Championships Pitchford believes that there is a strong opportunity for the two of them to travel far in the category:

“In the doubles, last time we had two or three match points (against Pär Gerell and Jon Persson) to get to the quarter-finals and were disappointed to lose that. But then we beat the same pair a few weeks later at the Swedish Open.” Pitchford went on to add, “I think we play well together and if we’re on the top of our game, there’s a chance to go far. I don’t see any other pairs that really stand out or to be afraid of. They will probably be afraid of facing us!”

National Dream for Pitchford

For many Table Tennis players positive results will not only give them a satisfying lift but will also be a significant achievement for their country, and for Liam Pitchford the dream of one day returning England to the top is very much one of his ambitions.

“Before, everyone thought ‘they’ve got potential but never seem to come to the party’, but in the last few years, that’s changed. We’ve worked hard as individuals and as a team and we’ve improved. I’m proud to be a part of that. Hopefully we can be the stepping stone for the future and get English Table Tennis back to the top” – Liam Pitchford (England).

Liebherr EC Liam Pitchford