Spanish men´s doubles at the European Para-Badminton Championships in Beek, the Netherlands. (Photo:Badminton Europe/Mark Phelan)
International para-badminton stars launch their 2018 campaign in Spain
Date: 3/5/2018 8:46 AM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

Alcudia, Mallorca plays host to the first international para-badminton tournament of the year this week and Europe plans to dominate the medal table.

4 months on from the World Championships in Korea and the para-badminton world draws a breath of expectation as the 2018 calendar gets underway. Unlike the 2017 World Champs however, European gold medal potential is more optimistic at this 7th Spanish International and seeks to replicate European success at last year’s tournament.

With a busy calendar, an inaugural Dubai International just around the corner, and uneasy travel requirements needed to reach Mallorca outside of peak holiday season, a few of the top nations will not be present in Spain this time round, giving the rest of the world a golden glimmer of hope.

The SS6 category was dominated by English players last year in Alcudia. Rachel Choong will be aiming to make it another clean sweep in all 3 events whilst Krysten Coombs picked up men’s singles and doubles. However, this year Coombs has his work cut out for him as teammate and World Champion, Jack Shephard, will be looking to make it 3 international singles titles in a row and their main rivals from Hong Kong, Chu Man Kai and Wong Chun Yim, are still buoyed from that World Championships doubles gold.

The only other gold medallist from Europe at those recent World Championships, Lucas Mazur (FRA), will be looking to continue his domination of the SL4 men’s singles category and aiming for gold in mixed doubles with teammate Faustine Noel. SL4 women’s singles may also provide Europe with a clean sweep of medals with Noel, Katrin Siebert (GER) and Helle Sagoy (NOR) vying for gold, and hopes are high in women´s doubles too.

In the men’s wheelchair categories it will be difficult to see past all-Asian finals, perhaps an outside chance for Thomas Wandschneider (GER) or David Toupe (FRA) in WH1. Stronger hopes perhaps for Karin Suter-Erath (SUI) or Emine Seckin (TUR) in the women’s categories whilst strength in depth continues to bolster in the Korean and Thai National Teams.

Daniel Bethell (ENG) hasn’t been 100% fit since the same tournament a year ago. He is very much looking forward to a good year on the half-court in men´s singles. Lifting the SL3 men´s singles trophy in Spain last year, and also taking the SL3-4 men´s doubles gold with his partner and teammate Bobby Griffin, Bethell had this to say about his preparations for Spain

“Last year was difficult, having to make some tough decisions and miss some big tournaments. But my training and preparation for 2018 has been great, I’m feeling better than ever. I cannot wait to get this year started and fight for titles!”

Bartlomiej Mroz (POL) and Ilker Tuzcu (TUR) will have their work cut for them this year in the SU5 category, whilst Cheah (MAL) and Nugroho (INA) the world’s top 2 players are absent from Spain, the new kid on the block, Taiyo Imai from Japan will be the top seed, which also makes the SU5 men’s doubles a mouth-watering prospect.

Outside medal chances too for Europe in Wheelchair women’s doubles, SU5 women’s singles and standing doubles events means that of the 22 events featured at all Para-Badminton Internationals, an early prediction sees up to 11 gold going to Europe this week in Alcudia.

You can follow all the scores on Tournament Software through the week, click here for the list of entries.

Look forward to BEC´s daily features from Wednesday onwards. The very best of luck to all competitors heading to Mallorca over the coming days!

To follow the BWF Spanish Para Badminton International 2018, visit our platforms below

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