Beatriz Monteiro and Megan Hollander today in Tokyo (credit BadmintonPhoto)
SU5 Underdogs triumph on Day One
Date: 9/1/2021 4:35 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

Two all-European battles take the headlines on Day One of the Paralympic Finals in Tokyo

Fifteen-year-old Beatriz Monteiro came fast out of the blocks this morning in the first match in Group C of the SU5 women’s singles. The youngest Para badminton player in Tokyo has been going from strength to strength over the last 18 months, it is arguable that the Covid-19 pandemic has enabled the teenager to grow in size, strength and experience.

Portugal’s only Para badminton representative in Tokyo 2020 was up against Holland’s Megan Hollander. The European rival is four places above Monteiro in the world rankings and ranked two places above her in the Race to Tokyo. Whilst Hollander leads the head-to-head, it was Portugal’s new young star who beat the Dutchwoman in Peru during qualification and went onto that final to collect enough ranking points to help qualify for thee Games.

Hollander looked nervous at the start of the match which was strewn with Dutch errors as she handed Monteiro a huge lead from which there was no way back.

Despite signs of a comeback in game two, Monteiro had already pulled away once again as Hollander struggled to find form. The gap was too much to claw back, and an emotional Portuguese finale brought about the end of the match 21-12, 21-19. 

She had this to say to the BWF after the match,

-I feel very proud to represent my country at the age of 15 for my first Paralympics, this was one of the best matches I have played so I am really happy with the win today

With one of the two favourites for Gold in the same group, Megan Hollander will need the match of her life to beat China’s Yang Quixia for a chance at progressing to the knockout stages.

Read: New BEC Podcast episode starring Solvår Flåten Jørgensen

Mroz with a mountain to climb

Another European match-up saw Poland’s world number four, Bartłomiej Mroz take on Meril Loquette of France in the SU5 men’s singles Group A this afternoon.

Only two years ago we might have described a French victory in this fixture as a shock, however the prospect of Paralympic qualification has spurred Loquette to a new kind of focus since 2018. Now closely matched, the 16-16 score line in the first game was no surprise and it was the Frenchman that held his nerve to see out the end of the game.

The second set went much the same way, a point-by-point battle yet it was Loquette who had a smartness about him in the longer close rallies and edged ahead for a 21-16, 21-17 victory.

With Dheva Anrimusthi (INA), the world number one, taking a 21-7, 21-7 win over world number three compatriot Suryo Nugroho in the same group, Loquette will need another great performance if he is to advance and Mroz now needs a miracle.

The Paralympic badminton schedule can be found here, with livestreams to one wheelchair and one standing court.

We will feature the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic badminton event here and across our usual platforms over the next week, look out for more in days to come

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