Sujirat Pookkham, Choi Jung Man and Kim Jungjun picked up two gold medals each in the wheelchair events on the final day of the Spanish Para-Badminton International 2018 in Mallorca.
Thailand’s Pookkham captured the WH 1 Women’s Singles crown beating defending champion Karin Suter-Erath (Switzerland) 21-15 21-19, before returning for the WH 1 – WH 2 Women’s Doubles with Amnouy Wetwithan. The Thais comfortably negotiated the challenge of Japan’s Ikumi Fuke and Yuma Yamazaki, 21-11 21-11.
“I’m very happy to have won two titles here,” said Pookkham (featured image; 2nd from left). “The target now is to do well at the Asian Para-Games.”
Choi, the 5-8 seed in WH 1 Men’s Singles, upset compatriot Lee Sam Seop in the final, 21-17 21-9. Then, in the company of Kim Jungjun, he won his second gold medal of the day beating Korean teammates Lee Sam Seop and Jeong Jae Gun 16-21 21-11 21-12.
The doubles victory also gave Kim Jungjun his second gold. He had earlier maintained his unbeaten run internationally in WH 2 Men’s Singles, overcoming Hong Kong’s Chan Ho Yuen 21-7 21-13.
“I’m happy because I had set a target for a medal before coming here,” said Chan. “I got a silver in singles and a bronze in doubles, so I achieved my target. This is the first tournament of the season, my condition is not yet 100 percent. This is a good start. Korea are always strong in wheelchair events, but we’re getting closer. I’m happy that I could observe Kim Jungjun closely and I hope I can get better.”
Japan won two wheelchair gold medals. Osamu Nagashima and Yuma Yamazaki held off top seeds Jakarin Homhaul/Amnouy Wetwithan in a tight WH 1 – WH 2 Mixed Doubles final, 17-21 22-20 21-17. Defending champion Wetwithan was also denied in the WH 2 Women’s Singles final, by Japan’s Yuma Yamazaki 21-16 13-21 21-14.
England’s Jack Shephard picked up a double in the Short Stature category. Shephard repeated his SS 6 Men’s Singles result from the World Championships final over compatriot Krysten Coombs; the two England players then combined to capture the SS 6 doubles gold.
Shephard dominated the singles final, as Coombs was unable to find his attacking rhythm. It was closer in the second game, but Shephard managed to shut out his compatriot in the second game at 21-15 21-19.
The teammates then avenged their World Championships final loss to Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai and Wong Chun Yim, 21-18 21-10.
“Really happy, I got off to a good start in the singles and finished it well,” said Shephard. “The doubles – the Hong Kong pair beat us the last couple of times, so it was good to beat them convincingly in the second game. We wanted to play them in the final again so we could test their skill. It was a great tournament for me, to win the singles and doubles; hopefully I can come back next year and do the same.”
The SS 6 Women’s Singles title went to Peru’s Carmen Giuliana Poveda Flores, after her opponent, top seed Rachel Choong (England), retired at the end of the first game which was won by the Peruvian 24-22. Choong later said she had aggravated a back strain in an earlier doubles match.
“I’ve been working very hard every day. Beating her is difficult, but I told myself anything is possible. My family and my coach and friends have supported me,” said a thrilled Flores, who was celebrating her first title.
Choong however won the SS 6 Mixed Doubles with Andrew Martin; the England duo holding off second seeds Fabien Morat (France)/Rebecca Bedford (England) 21-15 21-13.