Helle Sofie Sagoy with eyes focussed (credit Badminton Photo)
Europe fight back in SL4 singles
Date: 4/1/2021 9:56 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

European players make up more than half of the quarterfinal stage draw in the SL4 men’s singles, and also occupy 2 out of the 3 medal spots currently, in the female round-robin event

Faustine Noel is one of Europe’s only Para badminton players that might be competing for a Paralympic medal in all three badminton disciplines. The French woman looked to be putting up a strong fight yesterday in the SL4 women’s singles round-robin against arguably the best Para player in the world, Leani Ratri Oktila.

The Indonesian won two golds and one silver medal at the last World Championships, without dropping a game in women’s singles on her way to the title. Yesterday however she had to dig deep as Noel was serving at 16-15 up in the first game.

Oktila took the game and the match but the scores suggest that Faustine Noel is getting stronger in this discipline. Today proved a different test for the Frenchwoman as she was up against the world number three Helle Sofie Sagoy (NOR).

Read: Mathias Boe: I am here to push them

‘I feel more motivated and happy now’

If there were crowds allowed at the event they would have been up on their feet as this match unfolded. A tense affair that might have gone either way, Sagoy edged ahead at the end of game one to take it 21-14. Noel fought back in game two with five unanswered points mid-game and managed to hold on to take the second 21-19

The third game was close until the mid-game interval as Sagoy pulled away to take the match 21-16 and move to second place in the standings. We spoke with the Norwegian after the match, who had this to say

- I was really looking forward to playing today, after 14 months. I am in good shape physically but to be honest I was nervous due to the lack of match practice. It was difficult to find a rhythm and Faustine played really well!

- Life is good at the moment, I’ve made some big changes. I moved to Kristiansand to prepare for the Paralympics and have my own personal coach (ex International Sonja Wåland). We are working hard and dedicated every day to reaching my goals, she added

- This last year has had its ups and downs like it has for most athletes, but having moved from Oslo to Kristiansand I feel more motivated and happy. I train twice a day and I am having more fun even though the training is intense. I feel like I have a good plan to help realise my dream. This helps me stay motivated and sharp, said Sagoy

Follow the 3rd Fazza Dubai Para badminton international tournament here this week and across our usual platforms. The schedule and results can be found on tournament software here

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