Day 1 of the 4th Fazza Dubai Para Badminton International 2022 saw new talents make their international debut.
“I lost but I’m here for the first time. I was excited in the first game and then relaxed in the second. I want to watch other players and learn the different playing styles,” said Venla Salo of Finland after her 21-3 21-8 defeat to India’s Jyothi in the Standing Lower (SL4) women’s singles.
Australian Bree Mellberg, Salo’s fellow BWF Female Participation Grant 2022 recipient, had a calmer approach, drawing on her experience as an elite wheelchair basketball athlete to deal with the pressure.
“I enjoyed today and appreciate the experience. It’s allowed me to understand where I am on this stage. It’s such a positive vibe here and I want to keep playing because I love what I do,” said Mellberg, who was defeated by Korea’s Hyun Ah Kwon 21-6 21-6 in her first Wheelchair (WH1) women’s singles group match.
“This is my first competitive international match and he’s very good. I was excited and tried to enjoy my game. This match helped me see where I am and what I need to work on. I lack technique and I knew I wasn’t going to win so there was no tension.”
“It was a long match but that’s sport. You don’t always win. It’s just really good to be playing,” said the 31-year-old.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“Badminton is like chess. You need to read the game and your opponent. It’s not like a 100m race where you just focus on yourself and run. Badminton is a beautiful game where you have time to think, where you play with and against the person in front of you.” – Czyz
“When I started (internationally) I was 18 and there were about seven of us in SH6. Now it’s great to see a larger number of SH6 athletes, both men and women. That’s what the Paralympics has done for the sport. I missed Tokyo 2020 by one spot but now that there’s mixed doubles in Paris in 2024, all I need is a partner.” – McVeigh