Korea’s Kim Jungjun and Choi Jungman, and Japan’s Yuma Yamazaki and Sarina Satomi claim there’s more to their achievements than skill and strength, after winning gold at the Thailand Para Badminton International 2022.
Masters of the sport, Kim and Choi took the men’s Wheelchair (WH1-2) doubles gold, defeating compatriots Jeong Jaegun and Yu Sooyoung 21-9 21-12.
“We always eat well. Rice and Korean food. Even here we order daily from a Korean restaurant,” said Choi, 43.
He added: “In the past, after a match when I felt aches and pains it was easy to just overcome it. Now, my body takes longer to heal and I need the help of the physio.”
“As age catches up, I do feel that singles is tough but doubles is easier because it’s a different style and you have your partner’s support,” said Kim, 44.
Being buddies helped Satomi and Yamazaki win the women’s WH1-2 doubles gold against Korea’s Jung Gyeoul and Kwon Hyunah, 21-1 21-18.
“We’re good friends on and off the court and this helps with our communications during a match,” said Satomi, who also took the women’s singles WH1 defeating Cynthia Mathez (Switzerland) 21-13 21-8.
The WH2 singles gold went to Yamazaki who beat Jung, 21-18 21-10.
It was a younger generation of shuttlers who stole the show in the men’s singles.
Japan’s Daiki Kajiwara, 21, made it seem easy with a 21-10 21-9 win over Yu Sooyoung (Korea) in the WH1 finals.
“It definitely was not easy but I was feeling good and remained calm throughout. I didn’t make any mistakes,” said Kajiwara who has remained unbeaten through six tournaments this year.
Malaysian Muhammad Ikhwan Ramli added a third WH1 men’s singles gold to this year’s collection when he defeated Korea’s Jeong Jaegun 21-23 21-16 21-19.
“I had a slow start. It took me some time to get used to the court conditions but I also played a cautious game to avoid making any mistakes. It came down to who was fitter. It’s good exposure for me to participate at so many international tournaments and play challenging matches but this event has been the most competitive this year and I had to work hard for this win.”