Pitchford hasn’t given up hope of reaching Rio

SPORT, Tischtennis, GAC WORLD TOUR 2015, Wels, 2015_09_04PITCHFORD Liam ENG�_PHOTO_PLOHE
SPORT, Tischtennis, GAC WORLD TOUR 2015, Wels, 2015_09_04PITCHFORD Liam ENG�_PHOTO_PLOHE

Chesterfield’s Liam Pitchford narrowly missed out on securing a place at the Olympics – but his Rio ambitions are not yet over.

Pitchford was beaten 4-3 by world No 20 Tiago Apolonia of Portugal in one of eight final matches in stage one of the European qualifying tournament in Halmstad, when the eight winners booked their places in Rio.

But the Chesterfield athlete will go into a second stage tomorrow and Saturday, with four wins needed to secure one of two remaining qualifying slots.

If he does not succeed, he can still qualify by virtue of their world rankings when the Rio field is finalised next month.

Pitchford earlier beat Switzerland’s Elia Schmid 4-1 (12-10, 11-13, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5) and Zsolt Peto of Serbia 4-1 (11-7, 16-14, 12-14, 11-4, 12-10) to set up the tie with Apolonia.