Badminton continues to shine as a sport for all – with 99 players recently competing at the 22nd Summer Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria, and six countries winning medals.
Twenty-three nations entered the badminton event, with 57 men and 42 women battling for honours in the traditional five categories. When the last shuttle landed inside the Hristo Botev Hall, those sharing glory on the podium were Bulgaria, China, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Korea and Russia.
In Men’s Singles, Shokhzod Gulomzoda of Russia took gold from Korea’s Sin Hyunwoo, winning the final 21-15, 21-15 while Sin’s compatriot, SEO Myeongsoo, claimed bronze. He swept past China’s ZHA Zhengchun 21-15 21-5 in the third-place play-off (top right; Men’s Singles medallists).
Chinese Taipei’s Fan Jung-Yu (BWF home page; Women’s Singles medallists) dashed the hopes of local fans in the Women’s Singles showdown. Eager to celebrate a gold medal for Bulgaria, spectators turned out in their numbers to cheer on top seed, Gergana Baramova, but the Bulgarian fell to No. 2 seed Fan 21-12 21-5. Jeong Seonhwa of Korea won bronze – in a marathon tussle versus Jiang Jialei of China. The score: 30-28 18-21 21-18 in an hour and two minutes.
Russia were the toast of the Mixed Doubles competition – capturing all three medals. Artemy Karpov/Alena Soboleva overcame Shokhzod Gulomzoda/Olga Shtayger 21-19 16-21 21-19 in the race for gold. Their compatriots Mikhail Efremov/Anastasia Sedova ensured a clean sweep – rebounding to clinch victory and the bronze 19-21 21-11 21-19 from Korean pair, Sin Hyunwoo/Jeong Seonhwa.
There was more success for Russia as Artemy Karpov and Mikhail Efremov teamed up to conquer Men’s Doubles, beating Koreans Sin Hyunwoo/Shin Kyungduk 21-15 23-21 in the final. Indonesia’s Eddie Susanto/Aditya Hermawan ensured a medal for their nation, denying Thailand’s Nattachai Unsomsri/Siriwat Mattayanumat, 21-15 21-19.
Mixed Doubles medallists
Men’s Doubles medallists
China demonstrated their dominance of Women’s Doubles extends to the deaf community, with two pairs from that country clashing to determine gold and silver. Thwarted in her singles campaign, Jiang Jialei partnered Wang Meng to glory. They ousted their team-mates, Wang Meng Xing/Zhang Heng Yan, 21-13 21-4.
Russians, Alena Soboleva/Olga Shtayger, took bronze 21-9 21-11 from Japan’s Mutsuki BESSHO/Chihiro Shinada.
The badminton competition began on 27 July with four days of group matches in singles and doubles followed by two days of knockout matches on 31 July and 1 August. The semi-finals and finals were held on 2 August.
“The events went very well. Several excellent players competed brilliantly and there was a wonderful spirit and camaraderie among players and officials,” said Technical Director, Martin Bogard of Britain, adding it was “fantastic” to have live scoring which allowed fans worldwide to check the badminton results.
He also complimented the contribution of “local persons” who officiated as referees, umpires and line judges.
Women’s Doubles medallists
Thousands of athletes from more than 90 countries competed in 19 disciplines – 14 individual sports and five team sports – at the 22nd Summer Deaflympics (25 July to 4 August). The Summer and Winter Deaflympics are among the world’s fastest growing multi-sports events and are built on 85 years of tradition. Organised since 1924 by the Comité International des Sports des Sourds (CISS; the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf), the first Summer Deaflympics were held in Paris. The Winter Deaflympics were added in 1949. The Summer and Winter Deaflympics are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Badminton has been on the Summer Deaflympics programme since 1985.
For further information on Summer Deaflympics 2013, click here.
Text by Gayle Alleyne | Photos compliments of Deaflympics 2013