Following a milestone World Championships in Basel, our Para badminton stars continue their Road To Tokyo at the Thailand Para-Badminton International 2019 in Bangkok this week.
Competition got underway yesterday with a number of world champions in action including France’s Lucas Mazur, Japan’s Sarina Satomi, and Pramod Bhagat and Manasi Girishchandra Joshi of India.
Notably, the Chinese and Indonesian teams – responsible for 11 of the 22 medals on offer in Basel – have not travelled to Thailand for the competition.
BWF Deputy President Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul was on hand on Monday to welcome the 256 players from 34 countries to the tournament.
“Spectators can look forward to watching the best of Para badminton. We can expect to see some of the best players in the six sport classes battling for the medals.
“The sport had come a long way, especially since being brought under the Badminton World Federation’s umbrella in 2011.
“BWF’s philosophy of promoting and developing badminton and Para badminton together has resulted in significant strides being made, such as the BWF World Championships and the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships being held together successfully in Basel last month,” the Badminton Association of Thailand President said.
It is an important phase of qualification for athletes with back-to-back tournaments in Thailand and China over the next fortnight.
With only 90 places available for Para badminton at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, athletes will want to seize every opportunity to secure their places in Tokyo.
One player looking to excel in Bangkok is Germany’s Valeska Knoblauch. The women’s singles Wheelchair (WH2) world No. 2 told Badminton Europe’s Bobby Griffen that she was looking to make up for her quarterfinal loss in Basel.
“I was disappointed about my performance, especially in the second game of that quarterfinal. I just [have to] focus on the next competition and concentrate on the positives.
“I feel prepared for this back-to-back trip to Asia. I’m looking forward to Thailand, although I don’t think the Chinese team is here this week so that will make a difference.
“The China Para-Badminton International the following week will be exciting. I’ve never been to the country and there may be some new players, too. The standard could be strong and that will be a great experience.”