Belgium’s To Man Kei and Hong Kong China’s Chan Ho Yuen are friends but never expected to win a gold medal as WH1-WH2 mixed doubles partners at Thailand Para Badminton International 2023 in Pattaya.
“When we decided to do this, I was a little daunted,” revealed To. “Chan is such a good player and fast. I didn’t think I could keep up but by the second day we had figured it out. We discussed what we would do every day and kept talking on court. I listen to him and it works.”
Chan, the WH2 men’s singles world No.3, added: “People think if you are good at singles, you are also good at doubles. Doesn’t always work that way. Mixed doubles is totally different.”
Korea’s Choi Jung Man and Kim Jungjun held off Paralympic champions Qu Zimo/Mai Jianpeng (China) 21-17 14-21 21-17 to win the WH1-WH2 men’s doubles gold.
Earlier in WH1 men’s singles, Choi lost to Qu 21-12 8-21 19-21.
“After losing to him, I thought about what I can do better. As I kept, playing I figured out how we could win. We may be older but we are still strong. We can keep going,” said 44-year-old Choi.
China’s Liu Yutong takes home the WH2 women’s singles gold after defeating teammate Li Hongyan 21-14 21-10.
“Coming back into competition is exciting but on the first day, just before my match, I was so excited and nervous I nearly threw up,” said Liu.
“Although I’m excited, I’m also worried. All my opponents have improved and the new ones are good too. I’m already feeling the pressure.”
Japan’s Daiki Kajiwara kept the audience guessing before finishing off his WH2 men’s singles final against Korean Sooyoung Yu 22-20 21-13.
“He’s powerful so I had to take my time and play long rallies because that’s what I’m better at,” said Kajiwara. “The next big target is Paris 2024 gold in singles and doubles.”
Sarina Satomi added two more gold medals to Japan’s haul.
Satomi defeated To 21-17 21-12 in WH1 women’s singles, then partnered Yuma Yamazaki to take out Liu and Yin Menglu 14-21 22-20 21-17 in WH1-WH2 women’s doubles.