Wang Ping of China announced herself on the global stage in grand style yesterday, ending Karin Suter-Erath’s reign as queen of wheelchair badminton.
In the first-ever clash between these stellar athletes, the Chinese brushed aside her Swiss rival – the defending Women’s Singles WH 1 gold medallist – to advance to the final in that category at the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships 2015.
Since Wang’s success in various Asian tournaments over the past year, the para-badminton community has been abuzz wondering how she would match up versus Suter-Erath (below) who has an impressive winning record in top-flight para-badminton.
Well, spectators inside Stoke Mandeville Stadium got the much-anticipated answer in the semi-finals – 21-10 21-19 in 24 minutes; signalling this could be the start of a new and exciting rivalry in years to come.
Wang will seek to complete her mission today by overcoming Korea’s Son Ok Cha for the gold medal. The latter dispelled the challenge of her compatriot, Kang Jung Kum, 21-18 21-13, to secure at least silver for her efforts.
In Women’s Singles WH 2, Thailand’s Amnouy Wetwithan also produced a semi-finals upset, beating top seed Emine Seckin of Turkey, 21-16 21-10. She now tackles Lee Sun Ae of Korea who kept on track to retain her title, motoring past Japan’s Rie Ogura, 21-6 24-22.
On the men’s side, Korea’s Lee Sam Seop ousted his compatriot Lee Dong Seop (21-12 21-9) to set up a date with Germany’s Thomas Wandschneider for the Men’s Singles WH 1 World title. Wandschneider fought back from losing the first game to beat Jakarin Homhaul of Thailand (19-2121-1121-19) in their last-four battle.
Meanwhile, Korea are assured of gold and silver in Men’s Singles WH 2, with Kim Jung Jun facing his team-mate Kim Kyung Hoon, both having come through their semi-finals in straight games. The two will also be across the net from each other in the combined Men’s Doubles WH 1-WH 2 final with Jung Jun partnering Lee Dong Seop (below) while Kyung Hoon will have Lee Sam Seop by his side.
In Men’s Singles SL 3, Pham Duc Trung of Vietnam and India’s Pramod Bhagat will vie for top honours. Bhagat defeated top seed Daniel Bethell of England (15-21 21-15 21-16) in semi-final action while Pham got past Bhagat’s compatriot Manoj Sarkar, 21-16 21-11. In Men’s Singles SL 4 semi-finals, No. 1 seed Tarun Tarun of India progressed to the final at the expense of Kim Jae Hoon of Korea (21-6 21-12) while Lucas Mazur of France (below) withstood Malaysia’s Bakri Omar, 21-9 21-17.
France’s Faustine Noel and Helle Sofie Sagoy of Norway will take centrestage for the Women’s Singles SL 4 showdown. Noel secured her passage into the final, with a 21-13 21-17 semi-final victory over Vu Hoai Than of Vietnam. Sagoy beat Germany’s Katrin Seibert (21-17 21-13). The latter had disposed of top seed Parul Dalsukhbhai Parmar of India in the quarter-finals.
In SU 5 competition, Mamiko Toyoda of Japan will clash with Denmark’s Julie Thrane for the Women’s Singles gold. Toyoda came through comfortably in her semi-final – 21-5 21-8 – against Megan Hollander of the Netherlands. Thrane triumphed, 22-20 21-13, over Brazil’s Cintya Oliveira. In the men’s equivalent, the two top seeds – Malaysia’s Cheah Liek Hou and Bartlomiej Mroz of Poland – will battle it out. Cheah will be aiming to extend his reign as World champion, having beaten Turkey’s Ilker Tuzcu (21-16 21-16) in the final four. Mroz won against India’s Raj Kumar (21-9 21-16) for the other finals berth.
The expected All-England shoot-out in Women’s Singles SS 6 was confirmed as Rachel Choong and Rebecca Bedford duly won their semi-finals versus Maria Bartusz of Poland and Sri Lanka’s Randika Doling respectively. The hosts will be hoping to end on a high in the Short Stature class with Andrew Martin set for the Men’s Singles final against Didin Taresoh of Malaysia. Taresoh prevailed in his semi-final versus Englishman Krysten Coombs (21-14 18-21 21-11) while Martin overcame his team-mate, Jack Shephard, 21-13 14-21 21-19.
Pham Duc Trung of Vietnam
See link for tournament website including match schedule, results and live scoring: BWF Para-Badminton World Championships 2015.
Featured Image: England’s Isaak Dalglish (SS 6 sport class) goes airborne with on-court excitement.