The men’s singles Para badminton standing class at the TOTAL BWF World Para-Badminton Championships is a representation of some of the best badminton players in the world, each vying for that top step of the podium in their respective categories.
In the SU5 class, Indonesians Dheva Anrimusthi and Suryo Nugroho are currently ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, but Anrimusthi’s on-court prowess has earned him praise from compatriots as well as competitors.
“Dheva and I train together but I’ve never beaten him in competition,” said Nugroho, after an easy win against David Jack Wilson of Wales, 21-8 21-10.
As the top and second seeds, the two teammates could potentially meet in the finals but according to Anrimusthi, it could be anyone’s game.
In his round of 16 match, Anrimusthi who ousted Shi Shengzhuo 21-16 21-11, said: “In our category, every one of us is equal. I cannot think of anyone who is particularly a threat.”
Malaysia’s Cheah Like Hou who won the World Champion SU5 title in 2017 thinks there is a difference between the level of competition two years ago and now.
“More players have raised their game and they are all younger. I’m at least 10 years older than some. The game is a lot faster too. It won’t be easy facing them,” said Cheah who booked his quarterfinal spot after beating China’s He Zhirui 21-12 21-17.
It seems a fair playing ground in the SL4 men’s singles as well, with France’s Lucas Mazur standing out more than his competitors and not just because of his 192cm height.
Mazur took out Chinese Taipei’s Yeh En-Chuan 21-18 21-8 to set up his quarterfinals match against Thailand’s Siripong Teamarrom.
“I’m very happy with my second game because my first I didn’t play my best badminton. My skills were clearly better. I told you I wanted to be better and today I’ve improved,” Mazur said.
“I’ve played Teamarrom many times and I know it will be a good match. Of course, I’m looking to win gold but step by step, so the next step is to beat the Thai player,” he added.
Also making their way towards the men’s singles SL4 gold are World No.2 Tarun and No. 3 Sukant Kadam of India.
Tarun defeated Russia’s Oleg 21-8 21-16, and Kadam sent New Zealand’s Corrie Keith Robinson packing 21-8 21-11 for their respective quarterfinal positions.
Austria’s Henriette Koosz and Spains Marcela Quinteros created quite a stir when defeated home favourites Cynthia Mathez/Karin Suter-Erath in the women’s doubles WH1-2 match 21-19 19-21 21-19. Koosz and Quinteros’ joy was short-lived however, when barely a couple of hours later they fell to top seeds Sarina Satomi/Yuma Yamazaki of Japan 21-8 21-4.
Switzerland’s hopes of a doubles medal were dashed for good this year when the last of its athletes, Karin Suter-Erath and Luca Olgiati succumbed to Germany’s Young-Chin Mi/Valeska Knoblauch 21-13 21-17 in the mixed doubles WH 1-2.
Japan’s Osamu Nagashima/Atsuya Watanabe took a little over an hour to secure themselves a bronze medal after they defeated Germany’s Young-Chin Mi/Thomas Wandschneider 21-14 21-19. “We have a bronze but we want the silver and of course, the gold. The next match which is against Korea will be tough so we’ll have to raise our game if we’re going to beat them,” said Nagashima.
“This is good for all para athletes because we are looking to play at the Paralympics in big venues with many spectators. I want to say thank you to all the French fans. France is nearby and many of them have come to support us. My mom is also in the arena and I can hear her cheering for me because she is loud.”- Lucas Mazur, on the loud cheers from French fans in the crowd.