Bartlomiej Mroz (POL) with Morten Frost earlier this year
Working towards Tokyo
Date: 10/26/2016 12:12 AM
Published by : Mark Phelan
The 2016 edition of the European Para-Badminton Championships organized by Badminton Nederland and Badminton World Federation (BWF) will take place this week with the Dutch town of Beek. Badminton Nederland is hosting the event for the first time after editions in Switzerland (2010), Germany (2012) and Spain (2014). 

Para-badminton has its official routes as far back as 2008 when the BWF officially recognised the sport and gave it priority status within the organisation. By 2011 para-badminton was fully integrated into the BWF with a significant increase in funding and a new strategic focus. October 2014 witnessed a major milestone in the history of the sport being selected for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games and this week in Beek many of Europe’s best will compete to be crowned European champions as they work towards the dream of being a Paralympian medallist at its maiden appearance.

143 athletes will compete across 21 events during the four days of competition. Europe already has some emerging stars who will be looking to write their names into the history books this week with Poland’s 2015 BEC Best Para-Badminton Player of the Year award winner, Bartlomiej Mroz (pictured above with Hall of Famer Morten Frost) hotly tipped to lift the title in the men’s singles SU5 category. 

In the wheelchair events, 2014 BEC Best Para-Badminton Player of the Year award winner, Karin Suter-Erath of Switzerland will be favourite in the women’s singles WH1 while the women’s singles SU5 category will be sure to witness some interesting battles with the host nations Megan Hollander (pictured below) and Tukey’s Zehra Baglar set to go head to head with Danish star Julie Thrane. 

Ireland’s Niall McVeigh will look to add another title to his collection in the men’s singles SS6 category but will come up against stiff opposition from team England´s trio of Krysten Coombs, Andrew Martin and Jack Shepard.  

Megan Hollander (NED) at an exhibition match at the 2015 YONEX Dutch Open

Germany’s Thomas Wandschneider leads the rankings in the men’s singles WH1 category with David Toupe of France and England’s Connor Dua-Harper set to keep the German honest and England’s Martin Rooke will be hot favourite in the men’s singles in WH2. Rooke will be expected to medal in all three events he competes in as he partners Toupe in doubles and Karin Suter-Erath in the mixed doubles wheelchair event. 

England will look to 2015 BEC Para- Badminton Player of the Year nominee Rachel Choong to dominate the women’s singles in SS6 and like Rooke will be expected to medal in all three of her events. Not to be outdone team England will also look to Rebecca Bedford to land a hatful of medals from her three events. 

France too will have their fair share of the haul of medals come Sunday and in Lucas Mazur have the favourite in the SL4 class, a class with 22 other athletes looking to upset the Frenchman. The French will also look to Faustine Noel in the women’s singles in SL4 to medal if not take gold. 

The action kicks off in Beek on Thursday and to view all results from the 2016 European Para-Badminton championships click HERE

Article and photos by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe.

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