Liam Pitchford helps Great Britain to victory over France at Rio Olympic Games

A spectacular fightback from Derbyshire Institute of Sport’s (DIS) Liam Pitchford helped Great Britain to a dramatic team victory over France at the Rio Olympic Games.

The Chesterfield player saved a match point in the vital fourth match before going on to beat Tristan Flore 3-2.

That proved vital as, with tension mounting, Worksop’s Sam Walker saved three more match points to beat world number 17 Simon Gauzy in the deciding rubber.

It enabled the Brits to battle back from 2-1 down in terms of matches to win 3-2 and set up a quarter-final tie with reigning Olympic champions China.

Every match went the distance in an incredible tie that lasted more than four hours.

Liam was up first in the singles, facing Gauzy and twice fought back from games down to level at 2-2.

However, he was unable to keep his momentum going down in the deciding game 11-5.

Paul Drinkhall, who reached the last 16 of the singles tournament levelled the overall tie in the next match, beating Emmanuel Lebesson 3-2, but GB were up against it again when Drinkhall and Walker lost the doubles to Lebesson and Flore 3-2 after leading 2-0.

Step forward Liam, who fought tooth and nail with Flore to run out a 3-2 victor, winning 11-9 in the decider after trailing 2-0 in games and then 10-9 in the fourth game.

That left Walker to face Gauzy to decide who would advance to the last 16 and the British player kept his cool to claim a 7-11, 11-8, 13-11, 9-11, 12-10 success.

The DIS offers talented athletes in the county extensive support through a variety of means, including financial support, expert coaching, bespoke strength and conditioning programmes, physiotherapy and nutritional advice.

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