General

Bartlomiej Mroz at the Para badminton World Championships in August (credit Badminton Photo)
A huge task ahead for European SU5s
Date: 12/21/2019 4:38 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

There are three men clambering for a place in the SU5 draw, as we look towards the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, yet one women is already confident of a medal


Two men have dominated SU5 Para badminton in Europe in recent years. Poland’s Bartlomiej Mroz finally took the European crown from Turkey’s Ilker Tuzcu in Rodez at the end of 2018. That rivalry peaked as we moved into Paralympic qualifying earlier this year.


The surprise was the performances Frenchman Meril Loquette was able to produce in the first half of the year, including a semifinal win over one of the top Indonesians after defeating Mroz in the quarterfinals. Suddenly there were three and the fight for a place in The Games next summer began.


Disaster struck Tuzcu in his home tournament and he was out injured for months, potentially ending his dream of the 2020 Paralympics. He sits at tenth in the Race to Tokyo rankings, with a mountain to climb to achieve that dream.


Mroz is in fourth spot, with Loquette in sixth. With three tournaments left in 2020 to help decide the qualifiers, a lot can still happen to seal their fate.


Denmark’s Cathrine Rosengren has Europe’s best chance of SU5 success, currently number three in both world and Race to Tokyo rankings. She is knocking on the door of the two best players in the world, Ayako Suzuki (JPN) and Yang Qiuxia (CHN) who are common names on finals day at international competitions.




‘A gold medal would be perfect’

 

We spoke with Cathrine Rosengren this week about how she manages her life, asking her how she manages to find time to train without full-time funding. The Danish player was happy to tell us about her life now and as a junior player:

 

- I finished school in 2018 and took time off studying to focus on badminton. I have a part-time job and they are very flexible with me, to allow me to train and compete, she said


- I moved to a new club 18 months ago and that has really helped me, I’ve improved a lot in that time. I’m also working with Badminton Denmark a lot more than I used to and the technical side of my game has got a lot better too, she added


- I have a lot of support from friends and family, all behind my Paralympic dream. I never really thought about my arm as a disability until I was 16. I played junior mixed and doubles and won junior medals, but never separated it from my able-bodied friends and teammates. I don’t see myself as disabled and nor do my friends. It has never prevented me from achieving anything, said Rosengren


- I think that because I always treated myself as able-bodied, and trained and competed in those groups, that really helped me be the best player I can be. I’m sure that’s the reason that I am doing better than any other European.


On what the Paralympics means to her, and her chances of success at The Games:


- I am really happy with the Paralympic rankings at the moment, I am number three in both lists and I don’t think I should drop down over the next few months. So I should make it to The Games and that is really the only reason I started playing in the first place. I was told I had a chance of the Paralympics and of course that would be exciting for anyone, Cathrine said


- It would be a once in a lifetime experience and I’d be so happy if I am able to get a medal! I haven’t won yet this year, I always lose out to Yang or Suzuki, but I am getting closer and closer and of course I have to aim for gold. 


- There are fine margins between me and both of those players so I think I can do it. Playing in Japan recently gave me a taste of what it might feel like next year. A gold would be just perfect, she added



Look out for more Para badminton reviews of the different sport classes this week across our platforms 

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