Seventeen years since she won bronze at the Paralympics, the flame hasn’t dimmed. Karin Suter-Erath’s passion for sport still runs strong, which is why she’s in the running for a medal in two events at Tokyo 2020.
A wheelchair tennis bronze medallist at Athens 2004, Suter-Erath also competed at Beijing 2008, before shifting her focus to Para badminton in 2010.
The Swiss player, a former elite handball player before an accident in 1997, is in the semifinals of women’s doubles (WH1-WH2) with Cynthia Mathez, and quarterfinals of women’s singles WH1.
“We are in the semifinals but we know we will have very strong opponents. So it’s going to be tough. We have to fight for every point, and we will see what happens,” said Suter-Erath, world champion in 2013 in women’s singles WH1.
Reflecting on her Paralympic Games journey, she said it was hard to compare the experience of Tokyo 2020 with Athens 2004, but was impressed by how much it has improved.
“Different sport, different time, so we can’t compare it. But it’s great that I could come to Japan. It’s so well organised, it’s unbelievable. Also, the venue and everything else, I’m very impressed.
“It’s very different from Athens, but it’s the Paralympics, and it’s the biggest goal for us as athletes, and it’s always amazing.”
What has kept her going over all these years?
“The biggest motivation is the joy for sport. I enjoy the training with my coaches, my sparring partners, a lot of friends, the whole team around, it’s just that I love my sport, that’s the reason I’m still playing.
“It’s not only about badminton training; athletic training is also important. I have a very good team behind me and that helps a lot.”
Suter-Erath, whose international debut in Para badminton was at the European Championships in 2010, is thrilled at the improvement in the level of play in recent years.
“It’s amazing, when I started it was in 2010 at the European Championships. You can’t compare the level the sport is at now. Since 2015 the level has been going up every year. There are so many good players, it’s very professional.
“It’s becoming tough for everyone. There are almost no easy matches. We are all working hard.”
Her partner Cynthia Mathez believes it’s Suter-Erath’s dedication to training that has helped her have a long career.
“She trains a lot, and she’s good at tactics, so for me she’s the best partner. She pushes me all the time. We push each other and that’s important, and we fight together for every point.”