Jack Shephard at the 2018 European Championships (Mark Phelan / Badminton Europe)
Shephard aims to defend Irish title
Date: 6/16/2019 5:04 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

Team GB’s Jack Shephard has been busy preparing his defence of the Irish International title this week in Dublin as the 5th tournament of 2019 gets underway.

The SS6 men’s singles rankings make interesting reading for a number of reasons. Shephard and his teammate Krysten Coombs currently occupy the top 2 places in the world rankings, yet just one title has been won by the Britons so far this year.

In addition, the Race To Tokyo Ranking list was published last week which shows who leads the way in those classes that will be on display at the Paralympic Games next summer, with Shephard and Coombs fighting it out in places 3 and 4.

Crucially the likelihood of both Englishmen making it to the Games is very slim.  Every ranking point counts right now, despite the event being 14 months away, whilst Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai and India’s Nagar Krishna share number one spot with the same number of points.

Read: Lee Chong Wei bids farewell

“I believe I can do it”

We caught up with the Short Stature world number 1 earlier this week on his feelings about the 2019 calendar and how the competitions have gone for him so far, he said:

“I’ve started well. I’m just trying to take one tournament at a time and not think too much into it. I prepare the best I can every time, turn up and try to win”

“I’m happy. It would have been nice if I could have won the semi-final in Turkey, it was a close 3 sets (against Krishna) and I’m really happy with how I came through and won the Canadian title. That gave me the great winning feeling again and a drive to push on and win more this season”

On whether the pressure of being number 1 comes into his mind and how the Road to Tokyo Rankings impact his thought process, and what his expectations are for this week in Ireland?

“I try not to think about it really. I put the rankings behind me and just play badminton. Whatever happens within those lines is all I need to worry about. I believe I can do it this week. I’m ready to do it”

The Irish Para-Badminton International 2019 begins on Wednesday this week. Look out for updates and results each day on tournament software here.

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