Emmanuel LEBESSON at the top of the EuropePhoto: Richard Kalosai
LIEBHERR 2016 ITTF European Championships in Budapest
French player Emmanuel LEBESSON clinched the title in the Men's Singles Event at the LIEBHERR 2016 ITTF European Championships in Budapest. In the final he beat Simon GAUZY of France (14:12, 9:11, 11:7, 11:3, 11:6).
For the first time after 18 years France has the player at the medal rostrum in the Men’s Singles Event at the European Championships. Last time it was Jean-Philippe GATIEN in Eindhoven 1998. In addition last time when France made it double was in 1976 in Prague - Jacques SECRÉTIN won gold whilst Christian MARTIN clinched bronze.
“I did not start the match very good and that is the last thing I wanted to happened. When you gave Simon chance to lead, he will just increase the pressure. By the end of the opening game I managed to won only one point on my service. Only God saved me to win that game. Latter 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 game,” said LEBESSON.
In the semis, Emmanuel LEBESSON of France halted the fantastic run of Poland's Jakub DYJAS 1:4 (8:11, 5:11, 11:5, 6:11, 5:11) in the semi final. Despite his brave effort DYJAS could not find the game for determened French player. Only in third game we saw LEBESSON being under pressure.
« At that moment he started to play better. He was 5:1 in the lead very qickly. There was no use of wasting energy. I decided to let that game off and to focus of next one,» said LEBESSON.
The player with the record number of medals at the World Championships – 24, could not concluded his semi final match against Simon GAUZY. On his way to the 18th gold Timo BOLL he was halted by the neck injury. Still, with the record of 25 medals, 17 gold, four silver and four bronze medals it is less likely any one will catch up with him soon.
«We faced the same situation as we had at the Olympics in Rio. Then, we solved it temporeraly with the injection, but he had to make a five weeks break. He came back and doctors warned him to be very carefull and to try not to make the condition worst in case he feel the same problem again. It happened in the semis and we decided to end the match. We wanted to prevent any further serious problems,» said coach Jorg ROSSKOPF.
GAUZY said:«BOLL is a great player, my idol and I am sorry I had to win this way. I feel bad about all what happened.»