Friday, 17 May 2024

Para Badminton Tournament Kicks Off in Vitoria, Spain

The Para badminton season got off to an exciting start with the first tournament of the year taking place in Vitoria, Spain. The event marks the beginning of the journey for many shuttlers as they aim to accumulate crucial points on the Road to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

New Faces Stealing the Show

One of the main highlights of the tournament was the emergence of several new faces in the Para badminton scene. Among them was Dražen MikŠiĆ (WH1) from Croatia, a former wheelchair tennis player. Despite facing a tough opponent in fifth seed Keita Nishimura from Japan in the opening Group E match, MikŠiĆ displayed great enthusiasm and a positive attitude. Although he was defeated in straight games, he expressed his excitement about playing Para badminton for the past three months. He emphasized the importance of gaining experience by competing against players of this caliber and acknowledged that there is still a long way to go before achieving his dream of participating in the Paralympics.

Miksic (WH1) competed in Para tennis for 25 years before switching sports. Picture by Miksic

From Hobby to Professional

Another player who made an impressive debut at the tournament was Kamil Šnajdar (WH1) from the Czech Republic. After playing Para badminton as a hobby for two years in his hometown of Brno, Šnajdar decided to turn professional and compete on the international circuit. In his first Group C match, he faced the experienced Yuri Ferrigno and unfortunately lost in straight games. Šnajdar shared his journey of balancing two careers – working full time at KBC bank while pursuing his passion for badminton. Despite the challenges of a demanding schedule, he expressed his joy and motivation in participating in the tournament.

Tham Khảo Thêm:  News | BWF World Championships

Snajdar gives Para badminton the thumbs up on his debut.

Words from the Players

Some notable players shared their thoughts on their experiences and aspirations:

  • Oksana Kozyna (SL3), the reigning world champion, expressed gratitude for the support she receives from YONEX as her sponsor. She emphasized her dedication to working hard and her ultimate goal of playing at the Paralympics.

  • Daniel Bethell (SL3), who made a remarkable comeback from a knee injury that forced him to miss the World Championships last year, expressed his happiness about returning to the court. He highlighted the importance of staying motivated throughout the recovery process.

  • 16-year-old Maud Lefort also had a memorable victory, conquering the SU5 women’s singles third seed, Kaede Kameyama. Lefort shared her satisfaction with her performance, overcoming challenging conditions and adjusting her strategy to secure the win.

Lefort ecstatic following her win in Group D.

Q: What is the significance of the Para badminton tournament in Vitoria, Spain?
A: The tournament marks the beginning of the Para badminton season and provides an opportunity for players to earn crucial points for qualification towards the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Q: Who were some of the standout players at the tournament?
A: Dražen MikŠiĆ from Croatia and Kamil Šnajdar from the Czech Republic impressed with their performances, despite facing tough opponents.

Q: What challenges did Kamil Šnajdar face as he balanced his professional career with his badminton aspirations?
A: Šnajdar shared his experience of navigating a demanding work schedule while dedicating time to training and competing at an international level.

The Para badminton tournament in Vitoria, Spain has set the stage for an exciting season ahead. The emergence of new talents and the determination of experienced players have created an atmosphere of enthusiasm and anticipation. As players continue to compete and accumulate essential points, the journey towards the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games becomes more compelling. Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of these remarkable athletes.

Tham Khảo Thêm:  NEWS

Note: For more information about Para badminton and to stay up to date with the latest news and updates, visit Carnegiecentre.