The number 14th seed was a rank outsider heading into the event, with no one expecting the 28-year-old to have a chance at the prestigious title. In another piece of history, LEBESSON played his teammate Simon GAUZY, which was the first time ever there was an all French final in Europe’s most elite tournament.
It was the older LEBESSON who was too good for GAUZY, in what was surprisingly their first ever match against each other, and prevailed 14-12, 9-11, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6 to arrest the title.
After his victory, LEBESSON stated: “I did not start the match very well and that is the last thing I wanted to happen, if you gave Simon the chance to lead, he will just increase the pressure. At the end of the opening game, I managed to win only one point on my service. Later Simon recovered, but I raised my game to higher level. From the third game I played the best table tennis of my life. It was incredible match!”
Now Emmanuel LEBESSON joins the illustrious list to become the second ever Frenchman to win the Men’s Singles title at a European Championships, while GAUZY becomes the country’s first ever silver medallist.
Showing impressive form en route to the final, Turkey’s Melek HU became the 2016 European Champion.
The number sixth seed beat Portugal’s Fu YU, the number ninth seed, 11-3, 11-2, 11-4, 10-12, 11-7 in the final to claim her first European crown.
It was one of the most comprehensive performances in the history of the Women’s Singles event at an European Championships. The 27-year-old surrendered just five games on her way to the title, in addition to the one game lost in the final.
“I am happy the way I played today. I am not afraid any more of the penholders. I was very confident and I had a good feeling for the ball,” stated HU.
The mixed national association combination of Germany’s Patrick FRANZISKA and Denmark’s Jonathan GROTH, the number seventh seeds, won the European Championships Men’s Doubles title.
At the final hurdle they beat the Polish combination of Jajub DYJAS and Daniel GORAK, the number sixth seeds, to win an emotional title 4-11, 11-4, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 12-10.
“We do not have much experiences, that is why we were little bit nervous in the final. To be honest, last time I played the final, it was in 2010. In addition DYJAS and GORAK played very well. It was hard to keep them under the control.” stated an ecstatic GROTH.
Somewhat surprise finalists, the German pair of Kristin SILBEREISEN and Sabine WINTER emerged as the winners of the Women’s Doubles event.
In an all-German final, the number seventh seeds accounted for compatriots Xiaona SHAN and Petrissa SOLJA, the second seeds, in a full distance seven games contest 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 2-11, 7-11, 11-9.
Husband and wife, Portugal’s Joao MONTEIRO and Romania’s Daniela MONTEIRO-DODEAN created history by becoming the first ever married couple to become Mixed Doubles European Champions.
“I started this journey as Joao as my colleague in a meantime, when we faced great pressure he acted like my husband. The support helped.”, stated MONTEIRO-DODEAN.
The fourth seeded duo recovered from a two games to nil deficit at the final hurdle to beat Sweden’s Mattias KARLSSON and Matilda EKHOLM, the third seeds, in five games 5-11, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 14-12.
All attention now turned to the 2016 ITTF-African Championships being held on 24-30 October 2016 in Aghadir, Morocco.