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From the European Olympic Qualifications in Luxembourg at the end of the third day of the competition four players booked their places for London 2012. First among them were Robert GARDOS of Austria and then followed Marcos FREITAS of Portugal, his compatriot Joao MONTEIRO and finally top seeded Bastian STEGER of Germany.
Bastian STEGER, member of the world’s team’s vice-champions Germany, reached final and justified his exalted position in the draw. In the final he overcame Adam PATTANTYUS of Hungary who made a big upset by beating Tiago APOLONIA on his way to the ultimate stage in Luxembourg.
“I am happy that I finished the job on a first day. I played few very tough matches throughout the tournament. I had a hard Group and I already saw PATTANTYUS winning against very good players,” said STEGER.
In semi final STEGER overcame Constantin CIOTI of Romania on straight games, and succeeded against Jens LUNDQVIST of Sweden in quarters. In the group he played against Marko JEVTOVIC of Serbia, Pavel PLATONOV of Belarus and Omry BEN ARI of Israel.
Seeded no. two at the Men’s Singles Event in Luxembourg Robert GARDOS was in the team of Austria that reached position no. 4 in Team’s Event in Beijing. Once again he will fight at the competition under the five rings. In the final Austria’s player beat Daniel ZWIKL to secure his place in London. “This tournament is something special. You do not play here for money, or for rankings. You play for much bigger thing than that, for the place at the Olympics,” said GARDOS.
And he knows how it is to be there. “I am so proud that I played in the semi final of the Olympics, and especially I am happy with the fact that I played in Beijing. China made it special. I wish good luck to London, but I doubt anyone will surpass that what they did.”
On his way to London GARDOS overcame Paul DRINKHALL of Great Britain in semis in straight games, before he succeeded against Peter SEREDA of Slovakia. In Group stages Robert played against Josef SIMONCIK of Czech Republic, Liam PITCHFORD of Great Britain and Petko GABROVSKI of Bulgaria.
In the final match in Group Q in the Men’s Singles Event Marcos FREITAS of Portugal booked his place for the Olympics for a second time. In Beijing he lost in the Round of 64. His adversary in final Emmanuel LEBESSON of France will have two more chances in Luxembourg for his first Olympics’ ticket.
“I was at the same journey last time for Beijing and I knew what to expect. However it is so difficult to play this tournament. Not only that is hard to play three matches in one day like we did today, but also the stress and the pressure is enormous,” said FREITAS.
In the semi final Marcos overcame Liam PITCHFORD of Great Britain 4:2 and Thomas KEINATH of Slovakia 4:0. He was in the Group with Adam PATTANTYUS of Hungary, Lubomir POSTEJ of Slovakia and Aleksandr SMIRNOV of Estonia.
Joao MONTEIRO of Portugal will play at the Olympics for a second time. In the final of the tournament he maintained his patience to overcome the defensive skills of Experienced Evgueni CHTCHETININE of Belarus who already played at the Olympics in Sydney 2000 and Atlanta 1996. “This is very demanding tournament. It is both physically and mentally hard to play five days here. Luckily I managed to concluded the qualifications on first attempt,” said MONTEIRO.
MONTEIRO beat both Andrej GACINA of Croatia and Kirill SKACHKOV of Russia in straight games previously during the day to preserve a little of strength. In Group stages he played against KOU Lei of Ukraine, Daniel ZWICKL of Hungary and Lauric JEAN of Belgium.
(by Milica NIKOLIC, EWT)
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Photo: Portugal’s Joao MONTEIRO (Photo Lomaev)