Dubai Para Badminton International: Kozyna Surprises World Champion

Standing Lower (SL3) women’s singles world champion Manasi Girishchandra Joshi (India) fell to Ukraine’s Oksana Kozyna in one of the biggest upsets on Day 6 – the finals of the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Dubai Para Badminton International 2021.

“I’ve never felt this happy. My coach has taught me so much and my performance has improved. My coach is also very cool,” said Kozyna, who easily took the first game 21-10.

Joshi’s efforts to bounce back in the second were futile and she lost 17-21.

“I could have done better. I’m happy for Oksana. She played a strong game. She’s very fit and her movements are solid,” said Joshi.

Noel (left) and Mazur rely on long-distance training.

France’s Lucas Mazur and Faustine Noel were ecstatic after taking out Indonesia’s Leani Ratri Oktila and Hary Susanto 21-12 19-21 21-19 in the Standing (SL3-SU5) mixed doubles finals.

“We’ve been using Facebook messenger to train and it clearly works,” said Mazur.

Noel added: “It’s the best feeling to come back after one year, without training together, and still have this win.”

Mazur was also victorious in his SL4 singles after he ousted India’s Sukant Kadam 21-15 21-6.

“I’m happy with my performance here. Lucas has always been a strong player and I have a lot more work to do to catch up,” said Kadam.

Mazur then partnered Meril Loquette to take the men’s SU5 doubles gold with a 21-19 13-21 21-19 win over Indonesia’s Suryo Nugroho and Fredy Setiawan.

“Three gold medals is special but it’s good to win with my best friend. He did most of the work on court. I’m grateful for that,” said Mazur.

Loquette added: “I knew he had had two big matches and I had to take on more and support him. It worked out well and this was a good week.”

Nagar had a good week.

Kadam settled for another silver when he and partner Kumar Nitesh (India) fell in men’s doubles SL3-SL4 final to the formidable pairing of India’s Pramod Bhagat and Manoj Sarkar 18-21 16-21.

Bhagat maintained his domination in men’s SL3 singles with a 21-17 21-18 win over Nitesh.

India also took gold in Short Stature (SH6) men’s singles when Krishna Nagar defeated Malaysia’s Didin Taresoh 21-17 21-18.

“It’s a great way to end the week with such a good game. He’s very experienced and improved a lot since we last met,” said Nagar, who also takes home the SH6 men’s doubles gold with Raja Magotra.

In women’s SU5, Megan Hollander (Netherlands) and Palak Kohli (India) were neck-and-neck but Hollander’s experience and strength were too much for Kohli, who succumbed 18-21 18-21.

“It was too close at one point and I thought she might take the second one. I was confident because of my wins this week but when I was down 13-16, all I had was a strong desire to win,” said Hollander.

Indonesia’s Oktila and Khalimatus Sadiyah took the women’s SL3-SU5 gold after defeating France’s Lenaig Morin and Noel 21-18 21-16.

Cheah’s on the right track to Tokyo.

Cheah Liek Hou and Indonesia’s Dheva Anrimusthi battled it out for one hour and nine minutes before the Malaysian won the men’s singles SU5 gold 14-21 22-20 21-18.

Cheah said: “Halfway through the second game I picked up momentum. I’ve been working hard on my fitness and momentum, and my coach said to bring it all in towards the end of the second and third games. Dheva is a long-rally player and I had to attack that.”

QUOTES OF THE DAY

“It doesn’t feel like a ‘warm-up’ event because everyone is playing at such a high level. It’s taken a lot of mental strength to come back because I stopped playing for six months.” – Hollander

“This whole week didn’t give me enough fight. It’s good to be in a competition environment but it’s almost as if I’m playing in an exhibition.” – Oktila

“This past year I’ve had the chance to spar against players who are highly skilled, powerful and fast, so I’m on the right track to Tokyo.” – Cheah

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