Indonesian SL3 sensation Syakuroh Qonitah Ikhtiar cemented her name in the Spanish Para Badminton International history books by defeating second seed Mandeep Kaur Mandeep Kaur en route to claiming a final spot in her Category 2 event debut.
“It’s my time to shine,” beamed Ikhtiar, after noting her remarkable speed on court compared to her higher-ranked world No.2 opponent.
“I’ve been training hard consistently, working on my footwork and movement,” added the 22-year-old, who was classified on the Para circuit in 2022.
“The first game was easy, she was making a lot of mistakes but I had to step it up in the second. I’m happy to play other Para players of this level.”
The spirited shuttler appeared in three finals at Indonesian Para Badminton International 2022, emerging with gold in women’s singles and SL3-SU5 women’s doubles.
“I’ve been playing badminton for 13 years but thanks to a new club, I was able to join a professional league and it’s been great. I’m surrounded by great people and coaches. My favourite player is Apriyani Rahayu, she’s amazing.”
In the title match, Ikhtiar will face reigning world champion Oksana Kozyna, whom she defeated comfortably in the group stage.
There was more good news for Indonesia as the contingent saw several of its squad breeze into the finals, including Rina Marlina (SH6), Leani Ratri Oktila (SL4) and Dheva Anrimusthi (SU5), who dumped No.2 seed Fang Jen-yu 21-15 21-14 in 35 minutes.
Maud Strikes Form
Impeccable throughout the tournament, Maud Lefort (SU5) fought her way into the final after sweeping away second seed Akikio Sugino 13-21 21-16 21-16.
After losing the opening game, Lefort switched tactics to ensure victory.
“I made a lot of mistakes. The shuttles were so fast, I just needed that time to adjust and change things about my game and put the shuttle in the right places. I didn’t believe with my ranking I’d make the final, but here I am,” said the world No.12.
The 16-year-old faces the formidable Manisha Ramdass in the final, and was seen watching other matches with her next opponent.
“Manisha told me that after losing my opening game, she didn’t think I’d win but she was pleased I did. We’ve been discussing life and everything else but our match.”