Qu Zimo, the teenage wheelchair badminton sensation will take to the courts this week for the Hulic Daihatsu Japan Para Badminton International 2019, which serves as the test event for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
China’s Qu is the current world No. 1 in the men’s singles Wheelchair 1 (WH1) category and in the WH1-2 men’s doubles with partner Mai Jianpeng.
“There’s no mixed doubles in the Paralympics next year so I can focus on the other two events and I can win gold,” he said.
Qu has been making headlines for defeating more experienced players on his way to winning major titles since joining the national team in 2015.
By his 18th birthday this year, Qu had won three world titles – the men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles at the TOTAL BWF Para Badminton World Championships 2019 in Basel, Switzerland.
This week another field of big hitters awaits such as Korea’s Lee Sam Seop, Lee Dong Seop and Choi Jung Man, and Germany’s Thomas Wandschneider.
In the WH1-2 men’s doubles, Qu and Mai will potentially face-off against Korea’s Kim Junjung/Lee Dong Seop who they defeated in Basel for the world title.
Kim Jungjun, the Wheelchair 2 (WH2) world champion, will be looking to set up another one of his epic finals against long-time friend and rival Chan Ho Yuen (Hong Kong China) in the men’s singles.
The women’s WH1 events sees another Chinese teenage world champion, Liu Yutong, as the top seed. In the WH2 category, fans can expect to see local favourite and world champion Sarina Satomi vie for the title against Germany’s Valeska Knoblauch, Thailand’s Sujirat Pookkham and Switzerland’s Karin Suter-Erath.
Satomi will team up with Yuma Yamazaki in the women’s doubles WH1-2 and can expect to battle it out against Thailand’s Sujirat Pookkham/Amnouy Wetwithan or Liu Yutong/in Menglu.
While China and Japan headline the wheelchair events, the standing categories are evenly matched.
Lucas Mazur is top seed in the men’s singles Standing Lower 4 (SL4), and will have to fend off three competitors from India – Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj, Sukant Kadam and Tarun Tarun, who is returning to competition after a knee injury sustained at the World Championships.
India also has strong contenders in the men’s singles Standing Lower 3 (SL3) with Pramod Bhagat and Manoj Sarkar, while Indonesia’s Suryo Nugroho is expected to shine in the Standing Upper 5 (SU5) category in the absence of world champion Dheva Anrimusthi.
In the women’s SL4, Norway’s Helle Sofie Sagoy starts out at the top but will have to make her way through China’s Cheng Hefang and Ma Huihui.
The Hulic Daihatsu Japan Para Badminton International 2019 runs from 13 to 17 November at the Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.