World Championships | 22 Feb 2024

France secured two medals at the World Championships in Busan.

Both French teams at the ITTF World Team Championships Finals 2024 recorded wins in the quarterfinals, thus securing medals.

The French women's team, after an almost three-hour thriller, denied Germany a spot on the medal podium. After the decisive match, the 19-year-old French champion and three-time European bronze medalist, Prithika PAVADE, collapsed to the ground, while her four teammates rushed onto the center court, squealing with joy and burying her beneath them.

It was the dramatic conclusion to a great duel in which the 2022 European Championships finalist Nina MITTELHAM secured two points for Germany, but France proved their strength as a team. Europe Top-16 winner Jia Nan YUAN defeated Xiaona SHAN in five games, and Charlotte LUTZ overcame Sabine WINTER.

Prithika PAVADE: “We feel amazing right now. We are all speechless. I think it's definitely our best result in a team event. The main reason for our win is definitely the team spirit. We are five girls who have dreamt about this moment for many years now. And yeah, I'm just so grateful to have them as teammates and so, so happy. Speechless right now.”

Charlotte LUTZ: “We feel amazing because we knew that it would be a tough match, and Prithika did so well, we were shaking off. We're really proud of everyone.”

Audrey ZARIF: “Yeah, we would like to thank the French people for supporting us. Throughout the competition, they were there. I know that I didn't see my phone, but I know that a lot of people sent me some messages. I'm really proud of my team, and it's amazing. I know that we will play China in the next game, and I think it will be a tough match, but we have nothing to lose. So, we hope to give our best and always support each other and maybe win another medal.”

France will face defending champion China in the semifinals on Friday. The top-seeded Asian team, with players ranked number one, two, three, four, and six in the world, quickly dispatched World Championship hosts South Korea without dropping a single set in three games. In the second semifinal, Hong Kong will meet Japan. The women's final is on Saturday.

In the Men’s quarterfinal, France overcame Portugal in four matches. Marcos FREITAS gave his team a dream start with a victory over Alexis LEBRUN, but Felix LEBRUN turned the match in the opposite direction. Felix beat both Tiago APOLONIA and Marcos FREITAS, while Simon Gauzy prevailed against Joao GERALDO.

“It feels unbelievable and amazing for France and us. We played a very good match and tournament. It’s not finished, so we’ll try to continue in this way, but we’re just super happy for this moment. For the semifinal, we will sleep well and see the other match. We’ll just speak about the next match when we know against who it will be. It’ll be difficult; both teams are good, so we’re ready to fight,” said the older LEBRUN brother.

Felix LEBRUN added: “I feel amazing, and I got two points for this match. I'm so happy to win my two matches. The first one was okay for me, and I played quite well. I think I was a little bit better than APOLONIA in service receive. The second one against FREITAS was tough, and he played very well, and I also played very well, so it was a good game. I’m just very happy to win the two matches with the team.”

Simon GAUZY: “I knew that the two next games would be in our favor, but it would not leave any room for mistake to Alexis and Felix if I lost mine, so I had a lot of pressure. I felt really tense, but I think I handled my emotions pretty well. I never lost against Geraldo before, so I didn't want to lose today. And I think I played a great game, and my emotions kept together.”

In the semis, France waits for the winner of the match between Taipei and Germany. China, after the victory over Japan, awaits the winner of the encounter between Denmark and Korea.