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Beaten Drinkhall targets Rio

July 30, 2012 12:44 pm

Great Britain table tennis star Paul Drinkhall immediately set himself the target of qualifying by right for the next Olympic Games after being knocked out of the singles by Dimitrij Ovtcharov in London.

The 22-year-old has thrilled the crowds in London over the last two days, with Sunday's shock victory over Singapore's Yang Zi one he will savour.

Drinkhall eventually slipped out at the third-round stage. He was never able to get to grips with German world number 12 Ovtcharov's awkward style and lost 4-0, the German taking the games 11-8, 11-5, 11-9, 11-4.

Drinkhall's Games is not over, however, with the team event set to begin on Friday when he will be joined by Liam Pitchford and Andrew Baggaley.

Having had to utilise an allocated host nation spot after failing to qualify off his own back for London, Drinkhall insists work to ensure he earns place at Rio de Janeiro in four years' time will begin immediately.

"Here and in the past, I have proved I can compete with the best players," he said. "I have beaten some top players.

"My win yesterday was a good result and doing that on a big stage like the Olympics proves that I can beat those sorts of players.

"Today was a bit of a different level again, but training starts now, or after the team event, for Rio. I am pretty sure and confident that I will be there."

Drinkhall once again paid tribute to a raucous crowd at the ExCeL Arena, who have proved a constant source of inspiration.

"The crowd were great again," he added. "They were trying to get behind me and trying to spur me on. They did help me and hopefully they will be back for the team event."

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