A remarkable Mongkhon Bunsun from Thailand in Standing lower (SL3) overpowered third seed Mathieu Thomas (SL3) from France at the Spanish Para Badminton International 2021 yesterday. Pushed to the limit, the 26 year-old Thai was explosive out of the blocks as he set up a thrilling 95 minute match winning 21-15 12-21 17-21.
Brilliant Bunsun now tops the leaderboard for Group D in the men’s singles SL3.
After losing the opening game, Bunsun came back fighting firing heavy duty smashes at his opponent. This was only the second head-to-head match between the two.
“It was a very difficult match for me. Thomas is stronger than me. I’m really tired but I’m okay,” beamed Bunsun.
“I’ve been training a lot to secure my place for the Paralympics. This win today gives me confidence for the next round and I’ll try to do better,” added Bunsun.
Thomas said: “It was very difficult for me, I was finding it hard to hit the shuttlecock. My plan was to attack from the start. I must put all my focus and recover now. I need the win in the next round to ensure I can qualify for Tokyo.”
Everything on the line
The start of Day 3 saw Meril Loquette from France turn up the heat in his third round match in Group C against Ilker Tuzcu from Turkey in the men’s singles Standing Upper (SU5).
Loquette claimed the first game, but the match was taken to a decider after Tuzcu triumphed in the second game. It was important for both players to win their matches on Thursday in order to accumulate enough ranking points for Tokyo. Tuzcu was struggling with an injury in the final game but he never gave up.
“The first game was amazing for me, I’m fast and I’m better because of my speed. It’s a high level of sport we’re playing here. It’s hard. This is the last tournament before Tokyo and if I had been injured like Tuzcu I would feel bad too,” said Loquette.
The second game saw the Turk take a big lead with Loquette struggling to catch up. Loquette said: “Yeah I don’t know what happened there. I didn’t have it in the legs or the mind. All my friends and family pushed me to win this today. My coach too. I play for me because it’s important for me to qualify for the Paralympics.”
Surprises in store
Russian women’s singles Wheelchair (WH2) Tatiana Gureeva caused an upset over No.3 seed Amnouy Wetwithan (WH2), defeating the Thai top seed 24-26 21-12 21-19 in round three.
“There are no surprises here. I played my best and I really enjoyed it,” said Gureeva.
“It was a difficult match for me, but I’m happy to win. It was my first time playing Wetwithan. I tried not to think about the score, just continue to play and repeat the right shuttles,” Gureeva added.