Suzuki, Mazur, Cheah Strike Twice – Thai Para-Badminton Int’l: Finals

Ayako Suzuki, Lucas Mazur and Cheah Liek Hou all clinched two gold medals each in winning singles and doubles finals at the Thailand Para-Badminton International 2019.

Suzuki from Japan barely broke a sweat against Denmark’s Cathrine Rosengren who appeared a little cautious in her efforts to fend off Suzuki’s shots.

“I made too many mistakes,” said a disappointed Rosengren.

“I know I did some things right but it wasn’t enough. I did not believe I could beat her and then I also had some trouble with my knee so I was too afraid to step forward to the net too much because I wanted to avoid injury,” she added.

Suzuki credits her dominance in the women’s singles Standing Upper (SU5) event to discipline and her single-minded determination to win gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

“When I’m off the court, I’m always thinking about being a champion and when I’m on court I just remember my training and I play exactly how I train.”

Suzuki then partnered Noriko Ito to defeat Thailand’s Nipada Saensupa/Chanida Srinavakul 21-15 21-12 in the SL3-SU5 women’s doubles.

Srinavakul managed another silver, this time in the women’s singles Standing Lower (SL4) class when she fell to Japan’s Haruko Fujino, 21-14 19-21 21-7.

In the SL3 women’s singles, Parul Dalsukhbhai Parmar of India defeated Turkey’s Halime Yildiz 21-12 21-8.

Mixed Emotions

If Lucas Mazur had doubted his men’s singles SL4 world title, it was proved otherwise in Bangkok when he dropped only one game through the week, in his group match against Thailand’s Charawat Kittichokwattana.

“I know I’ve performed consistently well this week but after Basel I was asking myself if I deserved the title because I won after my opponent retired from injury.

“It’s not easy because there are many good athletes and they are continuing to improve. Charawat took me to three games earlier in the week and even my semifinal with Suhas was challenging,” he said, after defeating Korea’s Shin Kyung Hwan today 21-7 21-6.

Mazur and mixed doubles partner Faustine Noel then secured the SL3-SU5 title when they took out Thailand’s Siripong Teammarom/Nipada Saensupa, 21-18 21-19.

Noel who pulled out of the World Championships due to a back injury was only able to start proper training after arriving in Thailand.

“The few weeks without physical training gave me time to think and mentally motivate myself. I think I was able to play well because even though I only had minimum training, my mind is strong. Physically it’s been hard this week but I moved comfortably around the court and my racket skills are still good,” said Noel.

Mongkhon Bunsun and Siripong Teammarom clinched Thailand’s fourth gold.

Siripong Teammarom made up for his loss in the mixed doubles by teaming up with Mongkhon Bunsun to win the men’s doubles SL3-SL4 against world champions Pramod Bhagat/Manoj Sarkar of India, 21-16 8-21 21-14.

Bhagat, also the SL3 men’s singles world champion, retired in his final singles match after a score of 11-9, handing the win to teammate Sarkar.

“It hasn’t been a good week for me. I’m struggling with some pain in my left leg and I’m a little unwell,” said Bhagat.

The other double gold medallist was Malaysia’s Cheah Liek Hou.

Cheah, who won the men’s singles SU5 world title in 2017, was dethroned by Indonesia’s Dheva Anrimusthi in Basel this year. In Thailand, however, Cheah was able to display his expertise by defeating Chinese Taipei’s Fang Jen-Yu, 21-14 21-17.

Later, Cheah and Mohd. Faris Ahmad Azri denied Thailand’s chance of gold in the men’s doubles SU5 when they took out Watcharaphon Chok-Uthaikul/Pricha Somsiri, 21-14 21-14.

Short-Lived Joy

Krishna Nagar’s happiness at winning the men’s singles Short Stature (SS6) gold when he defeated Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai was short-lived when he lost the men’s doubles barely an hour later.

Nagar beat Chu 21-17 18-21 21-17 but Chu and partner Wong Chun Yim then reversed that to defeat Nagar and Raja Magotra.

Krishna Nagar (left) and Raja Magotra.

“It’s hard not just on me but most of the athletes who play singles and doubles, especially when there is only a short time to rest between the matches,” said Nagar.

“He’s usually the better player but I could see that he wasn’t at his best. I tried to support him but it was a hard match and what we did just wasn’t enough,” said Magotra.

Chai Saeyang claimed another gold for Thailand when she beat Malaysia’s Yanti Aspar 21-5 21-8 in the women’s SS6 singles.

Aspar avenged her loss by winning the mixed doubles gold with partner Muhammad Amin Azmi defeating Chen Yi-Ying/Cai Yi-Lin of Chinese Taipei 21-11 21-13.

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