Bright lights, vibrant music and dancing girls greeted participants on Day 1 of the Thai Para Badminton International 2022.
After introduction to the 25 teams, the event was declared open by Chukiat Singsung, President of the Sports Association for the Disabled of Thailand Under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty The King, and Krisana Boonsawad, the Pattaya City Deputy Mayor.
The first of the group matches were heated from the get-go as Paralympic champions were challenged by rising talents across all categories.
Standing Up to the Challenge
“It’s the longest match I’ve ever played,” said Kumar. “I’ve been feeling more comfortable with a new prosthetic as well so apart from maybe Pramod (Bhagat) and Daniel (Bethell) I’m confident I can take on the rest.”
Englishman Bethell, who has been on a winning streak this year, came off the court with an easy 21-15 21-6 win over India’s Umesh Vikram Kumar.
“I was pretty disappointed by the silver in Tokyo so in the off season my team and I worked to fill the gaps. We analysed my matches at the Paralympics and are trying to fix everything that went wrong. The aim to is change the colour of the medal to gold in Paris.
“All the top guys are here so it will be the hardest tournament this year but it will also be a good test before we head to the World Championships in November.”
“It’s always hard playing Krysten. He’s strong and experienced but I kept my focus and followed my coach’s instructions to not make unforced errors,” said Tavares. “I’ve got a lot more to improve on but I’m feeling confident. This is my tournament.”
Lucas Mazur had a 21-11 21-15 win over Jan-Niklas Pott in the SL4 men’s singles, but it took him and Faustine Noel three games to defeat Thais Darunee Henpraiwan/Pricha Somsiri in the SL3-SU5 mixed doubles 21-8 17-21 21-10.
Battle of the Best
Korea and Japan continue to battle for the top spots in the wheelchair events.