Wednesday, August 21, 2019
TEXT BY GEETHANJALI LAKSHMAYYA | ALAN SPINK
Spurred on by cheers of “POLSKA: BIAŁO-CZERWONI” (Poland: White-Red) signifying the colours of the Poland flag, Bartlomiej Mroz won his men’s singles SU5 match against Malaysian Mohammad Faris Ahmad Azri at the TOTAL BWF World Para-Badminton Championships 2019.
Having never won straight games against Mohammad, Mroz was quick to end the first one 21-13 but slowed in the second allowing the Malaysian to take a steady lead up to 14-9.
“It was a good but intense match and I was very tired. I needed to catch my breath between points but I really feel at home here. It’s a fantastic atmosphere and my friends cheering in the crowd just made me so happy,” said Mroz after taking the match 21-16.
It has been a difficult start to the year as Mroz dealt with having a new coach and a new game plan but if his performance on court today is anything to go by, then it is obvious that the efforts have paid off.
“It took a while but we’ve found a balance, and I feel healthy and confident coming to this tournament,” said Mroz who has been dropping by the other playing hall to watch the World Championships matches by the able-bodied athletes. “I get a lot of ideas from them so I can play better,” he said.
In the men’s singles SL4, India’s Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj had an easy win, 21-4 21-9, against Germany’s Tim Haller.
Yathiraj, who has been described by his opponents as a tricky player, tends to play deceptive shots instead of the more predictable ones other players do.
“That’s what I do. Just when they expect me to smash, I might drop the shuttle softly at the net or whatever comes to mind to trick my opponent,” said Yathiraj.
In the SL4 category, Yathiraj, who will be up against the big hitters such as teammate Tarun and France’s Lucas Mazur, is not deterred. “I am ready for them,” he said.
In the women’s doubles WH1-2, the German pair of Elke Rongen/Valeska Knoblauch took a beating from China’s youngsters Yin Menglu/Liu Yutong 21-7 21-9. “The Chinese girls may be young enough to be my children but they are excellent athletes. They train professionally and regularly, continuously improving on skill and strength,” said Rongen.
“I feel good but I could have done better. My footwork was OK and I was running well but I could have made less mistakes. I have to win my next match against Olek Donstov of Russia and he has to lose to Hugo Saumier of France, then I can make it to the next round.” – Tim Haller on his strategy at this tournament.