Teenage Shuttler Meets His Idol – Basel 2019

Friday, August 23, 2019
TEXT BY GEETHANJALI LAKSHMAYYA | ALAN SPINK

Miles Krajewski came to Basel with two goals. The first was to make it into the men’s singles Short Stature (SS6) quarterfinals of the TOTAL BWF World Para-Badminton Championships 2019. And the second was to meet his badminton hero, World No.1 men’s singles Kento Momota of Japan.

And both his wishes came through today.

Just as Momota scored his quarterfinal winning point against Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia, across the hallway Krajewski secured his quarterfinal spot with victory against Scotland’s Robert Laing, 21-9 21-12.

“I love badminton. My aim is to compete in the Paralympics, either in 2020 or 2024,” said Krajewski who has been playing badminton since 2013 when he first took part in the World Dwarf Games.

The lack of national Para badminton tournaments for his sport class in his country has not deterred this determined 14 year old, who also competes in men’s and mixed doubles.

Even practice and training opportunities are limited where he lives and attends high school in South Dakota, USA, and Krajewski travels two hours away from home with this father on the weekends for training.

Krajewski has already racked up the medals, winning the men’s singles silver and partnering Vitor Goncalves of Brazil to win the men’s doubles gold at the 2018 Para-Pan Badminton event. In the 2016 edition, he took home gold in men’s singles and doubles with partner Danh Trang of USA.

“Momota is the best player. He’s so good but he’s also so calm on court,” said Krajewski, whose calm, composed personality and playing style seem to mirror that of his idol.