Girl Power – Basel 2019

Thursday, August 22, 2019
TEXT BY GEETHANJALI LAKSHMAYYA | ALAN SPINK

The ladies of the TOTAL BWF World Para-Badminton Championships 2019 took to the courts in full force on Day 3 of the tournament.

Reigning women’s singles SL3 world champion and top seed, Parul Dalsukhbhai Parmar of India defeated Katarzyna Ziebik of Poland 21-13 21-7.

“I felt the shuttle was fast and it was important to control it so that it would not go out. This means I had to have the perfect service each time,” said Parmar about her match.

Parmar, an old hand at the sport, is expecting to come up against a strong Wannaphatdee Kamtam, the Thai player she defeated in 2017 for the crown.

Parul Dalsukhbhai Parmar

“Wannaphatdee is probably on the same level as me but I’m much older than most of these athletes now so my body has slowed down,” said the 46 year old whose ultimate goal is a Paralympic medal.

With age, however, comes wisdom and Parmar is looking to rely on her experience and maturity to make better on-court decisions against her toughest opponents.

Valeska Knoblauch of Germany, the World No. 1 women’s singles WH 1 player, is feeling fit, strong and ready to take on anyone who crosses her path. She defeated Russia’s Nataliia Prokofeva 21-8 21-9 to top her group.

In the women’s singles wheelchair WH2 category, Peruvian Pilar Jaurequi Cancino won her last group match against Chinese Taipei’s Yang I-Chen 21-17 21-8.

According to Cancino, Para badminton training for team Peru emphasises technical skill but the lack of access to specialised wheelchairs is a disadvantage when it comes to competing on the world stage.

In the women’s doubles SL3-SU5, China’s Cheng Hefang/Ma Huihui needed only 16 minutes to emerge victorious against Oksana Kozyna/Ivanna Redka of Poland, 21-7 21-6.

Although Ma is considered the doubles specialist, she claims not to be the dominant partner on court.

“We plan our matches together and on court we have good communication between us to decide the right moves during a match,” said Ma.

Ma and Cheng are confident their journey to the finals will be uninterrupted until they come up against Indonesia’s Leani Ratri Oktila and Khalimatus Sadiyah Sukohandoko.

“They are very strong, especially Oktila. They will be the ones to watch out for,” said Cheng.

Talking Point

“I’ve played the mixed and women’s doubles and the singles, and I’m looking forward to more good matches. I’m not thinking about what the other players think of me or how well they are playing here. I’m just looking to play my game.” – Valeska Knoblauch on her plans in Basel.