Greatest of friends; greatest of rivals Coombs and Shephard in SS6 Japan final (photo credit : Bobby Griffin)
3 Golds for Team GB and Team France take 2 in Japan
Date: 9/30/2018 12:57 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

Europe take 5 out of a possible 12 gold medals home today at the Japan Para-Badminton International.

GB’s Jack Shephard defended his SS6 men’s singles title against teammate Krysten Coombs today at the Machida City Gymnasium, and together they also defended their doubles title beating Yohei Hatakeyama (JPN) and Fabien Morat (FRA) in straight games, making it 5 out of 5 wins and no losses in 2018 for the pair.

The singles final was another epic, and repeat of the 18-21, 23-21, 23-21 marathon we saw last year. This time it finished 21-19 in the third. Jack had this to say

“It was a great match. I felt strong and in control in the first set, but it was very endy. Krysten had the better end in the second and pushed me around. I found myself in tricky positions, the conditions made it tough. He had a good lead halfway through the third, but I had a good run of points back and made a break and followed through to the end.

I just tried to take it one point at a time and not think about the score, just fight for every rally. It’s a psychological war at that stage, 15-15 in the 3rd but I don’t let it bother me. I just keep trying my hardest until the game is finished.”

Read : Kim Astrup : we need to work even harder

Allez les blues!

David Toupe (FRA) earned Europe a third gold in the WH1-2 men’s doubles, with Kim Sung Hun (KOR). They faced Korea’s Jeong Jae Gun and triple World Champion Lee Sam Seop. An hour in length, the longest final of the day finished 21-17, 20-22, 21-13.

French World number 1, Lucas Mazur showed the Japanese crowd what he can once again this week in the SL4 men’s singles. Another final, another win and another event where the World Champion doesn’t drop a game the entire week. This time India’s Sukant Kadam was at Mazur’s mercy in the 21-10, 21-17 final.

Lucas also partnered teammate Meril Loquette in the SU5 men’s doubles final, losing in 3 close games to Thailand’s Somsiri and Watcharaphon.

Bethell back to best

Daniel Bethell (ENG) was set up for yet another epic encounter with Japanese rival Daisuke Fujihara, the number 1 seed, in a 5th meeting in the SL3 men’s singles, and repeat of the 2017 Japan final. This week however, Bethell was too strong for the world number 2 and indeed all comers, not dropping a game all week. This one finished 21-11, 21-8.

“I was expecting a really tough match, lots of long rallies. We’ve met a few times before and every time it has gone the distance. I played really well, all the training that I’ve put in over the last 6 months whilst I’ve been in rehab for my injury has paid off.

I dropped from world number 1 largely due to my recurring injury so the aim is to get back there, more importantly going into qualifying for next year’s start of Paralympic qualification. In the meantime I’m looking forward to getting back to training and focus on the singles and the doubles for the Europeans in a month.”

For a full list of the Japan Para-Badminton International results this week click here

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