Just three months after undergoing knee surgery on his ‘good’ leg, England’s Antony Forster kept his hopes alive at the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships 2017 with a hard-fought victory last evening.
The England Men’s Singles SL 4 player (featured image) had lost his opening Group H match to Indonesia’s Fredy Setiawan and needed to beat Frenchman Paul Edinger to stay in the reckoning to qualify from the group. The task got harder with Forster losing the first game, but he held his nerve to win the next two by a narrow margin, 15-21 21-19 21-18, and came away mighty pleased with himself.
“I had a knee surgery, and had surgery in August. I tore my meniscus plying badminton, when I jumped up. The consultant found there were loose fragments floating, and we had to repair the tear. And this is my good leg, this has to do all the work. Without this knee I couldn’t really move. I was back on court after 4-and-a-half weeks. I was quite nervous, but the last month has been fine.
“This is my first tournament after surgery. It took six weeks to recover. I wasn’t sure if I can compete. I was back playing in September. It’s great to be here. I lost in Mixed Doubles earlier today after holding match point, so it’s nice to get one under my belt.”
Forster is playing his eighth World Championships and is impressed by how much the event has grown: “This time the number of players is huge. Obviously the (Tokyo 2020) Paralympics means a lot. There are a lot of players training full time. I have a full-time job, so keeping up is not easy.”
Fredy Setiawan, with two wins, leads Group H. Setiawan also won both his Mixed Doubles (SL 3 – SU 5) matches with Khalimatus Sadiyah Sukohandoko.
Top seed Lucas Mazur (France), last year’s Male Para-Badminton Player of the Year, won his opening match in Group A against England’s Bobby Griffin 21-4 21-8. His match against Canada’s Pascal Lapointe will decide the group leader.
In Group E, Turkey’s Fuat Soruklu recovered from his opening match loss to Korea’s Shin Kyung Hwan to beat Poland’s Denis Grzesiuk 21-10 21-17.
“I’m improving day by day,” said the Turkish youngster. “This experience will help me for the road to Tokyo. “I’ve been playing for three years. I started playing when my doctor advised me to play badminton. I had disability on the left side, and the doctor felt this sport was good for me. I now believe I can do anything. If I believe in myself and work hard, I can do good things. I look up to my teammate Ilker Tuzcu (MS SU 5) and admire Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei.”
There were few surprises in the day’s results, with only a couple of upsets. Women’s Singles WH 1 second seed Son Ok Cha (Korea) fell victim to China’s Li Hongyan, 21-10 21-2.
In the same category, top seed Karin Suter-Erath (Switzerland) eased past Russia’s Irina Kuzmenko in Group A, while in Group C, Thailand’s Sujirat Pookkham (3/4 seed) beat Chinese Taipei Hu Guang-Chiou 21-7 21-11. Group D saw China’s Zhang Jing get the better of Finland’s Heidi Manninen 21-5 21-7.
In Women’s Singles WH 2, the top two seeds suffered opening match defeats. Top seed Amnouy Wetwithan (Thailand) lost 21-15 21-18 to Korea’s Lee Sun Ae, while second seed Emine Seckin (Turkey) was beaten by China’s Yang Fan 21-17 21-9. China had a good day in the category, with youngster Liu Yutong get the better of Korea’s Kim Yeon Sim 21-10 21-4.