China marked their re-entry to international competition by taking gold in five of their seven standing class finals but fell to Malaysia and Indonesia in the doubles at the Thailand Para Badminton International 2023 in Pattaya.
“We’d never played them but we quickly adapted and that’s all we needed. We are very sure of ourselves,” said Marlina.
“The younger guy (Li) is very good, works hard. It took us a while to figure them out. Just a bit sad Malaysia only has one gold this time,” said Cheah, who lost in the singles semis.
“Miles is fast but my strategy always works. I am always in control of my emotions and stick to my game. Miles is playing well and has so much potential but today he seemed distracted. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt is you need to stay focused on yourself and your opponent. Nothing else matters at that moment,” said Chu.
China dominated the women’s singles, taking all four gold.
“I put up a healthy fight. I told myself I’ll give it 100 per cent. I got to about there but made a lot of mistakes because I was hurrying.”
Murugesan is unfazed by her world champion and Paralympic medallist compatriots and opponents.
“I love the speed of this sport but I have to develop my own style. I admire them all for their achievements but I have to be myself and not try to emulate anyone. This is how I aim to keep going,” said the 21-year-old.
China claimed another Indian scalp when Lin defeated Sivan in SH6 women’s singles 21-11 18-21 21-17.
Her partnership with Khalimatus Sadiyah Sukohandoko in SL3-SU5 women’s doubles was not enough to overcome Xiao/Yang, who won 21-16 8-21 21-18.
“The Chinese being back has shaken things a bit but overall, I’m satisfied with what I’ve done here. I know I’ve improved since the first tournament this year,” said Oktila. “And this new partnership is working well. Hikmat was amazing, I couldn’t have done it without him.”
Hikmat added: “We won in Brazil and now here. Lucas seemed tired but we were prepared for anything and played a clean, compact game.”
“I’m not satisfied because I wanted a full match, I haven’t beaten him in a long time. I wanted that chance,” said the Indian.
Bethell, who had been playing well the whole week, started having some breathing difficulty over the last 24 hours.
“I managed the semifinals comfortably enough but today I struggled with laboured breathing and wheezing, and just couldn’t carry on. Pramod and I have a long history of finals together and I’m sure it would have been another good one but there’s nothing more important than my health,” said Bethell.