Liam Pitchford not afraid of transplant after start of Commonwealth campaign

By Andy Baber in Birmingham

Liam Pitchford has no plans of resting anytime soon after winning his two matches as the England men enjoyed a perfect opening day of table tennis at Birmingham 2022.

The 29-year-old Chesterfield player has amassed a formidable Commonwealth Games record since making his debut in Delhi in 2010, winning eight medals in England team colors since then.

And he showed his pedigree with a clinical 11-4 11-3 11-5 victory over Shemar Britton to help the hosts start the men’s team competition in style with a 3-0 win over Guyana.

Pitchford then returned for the evening session, winning their second singles rubber 11-2 11-0 11-1 over Jai Chauhan as the England side secured another 3-0 triumph over Fiji.

“Good results day,” said Pitchford, who is one of more than 1,100 elite athletes in the world-class program funded by Britain’s National Sports Lottery, allowing them to train full-time. , to have access to the best trainers in the world and to benefit from pioneering technology. , scientific and medical.

“The level difference is quite high, but we just have to go out there and play and do what we have to do and get the wins.

“We got the wins today and that’s the main thing. I’ll probably play tomorrow, we’ll see what Gav (Gavin Evans, coach) says, but I don’t really want to have a day off before playing the quarter-final.

“It’s going to get a lot harder, so I’m going to try to recover as much as I can now. I’m ready to play tomorrow, but we’ll see what happens.

The East Midlands ace has previously opened up about his mental health struggles, describing last year’s delayed and post-lockdown Olympics as “the worst of my career”.

Pitchford suffered a first-round loss in the men’s singles competition in Tokyo and failed to qualify for the team event, but now feels he can take his place at the table without fear.

And he’s more than happy to embrace the favorites tag at Birmingham 2022.

“We went in knowing we were favourites, but I think we did a professional job. Obviously we knew they could play, they played some good stuff sometimes,” he added.

“I felt really good, I was over the ball, I was not passive. When I had the chance, I won the point. I felt like I played well , that’s the goal of the first game.

“Every game we have to take seriously and obviously after the group stage it’s going to get a lot more difficult, but if we keep playing like this we’ll be ready.”

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