India’s Prem Kumar Ale, 18-21 21-15 21-8 made his mark at the TOTAL BWF World Para-Badminton Championships 2019 when he ousted Germany’s Thomas Wandschneider in the round of 16 men’s singles WH1 matches.
Ale was a picture of confidence on court, with controlled moves and accurate shots that rattled Wandschneider who is ranked No. 2 in the world and comes to this tournament as the top seed.
“I’m confident now that nothing is impossible. I’m so happy and cannot wait for the next round to show what I can do. The Koreans and Chinese are very good but I have no fear of anyone. I’m ready to face anyone and I’m ready to go for the medal,” said an ecstatic Ale, who hails from Pune, India.
Wandschneider, expressed his disappointment, explaining that it was difficult to find his rhythm in this match despite a good start to the week.
“I played so badly. All my drop shots kept going out and I just could not hit the clears well,” said Wandscheider.
Getting Another Shot
It may not be all over for Wandschneider however, as he still has the men’s doubles WH1-2 to look forward to with partner Young-Chin Mi. It will mean facing Ale again as he partners Abu Hubaida of India.
In the mixed doubles WH 1-2 round of 16, Koreas Lee Dong Seop/Lee Sun Ae defeated Zhang Ying/Zhao Xin of China 21-16 21-14 to set up a quarterfinal clash against World No. 1 pair from Thailand Amnouy Wetwithan/Homhual Jakarin.
Switzerland’s Luca Olgiati/Karin Suter-Erath made it through after they overcame Spain’s Francesco Matero/Esther Torres 21-13 21-14. The Swiss will meet Young-Chin Mi/Valeska Knoblauch of Germany in the quarterfinals.
“I was a little uncertain in the first match but became more sure in the second. I think we give each other assurance on court but I have to work harder to improve and especially for the next match,” said Mi.
The Swiss may have home ground advantage but Mi and Knoblauch have their own fan base here in Basel. “Mom, dad, friends and family, everyone is here,” said Knoblauch.
Young-Chin Mi also made it past the men’s singles WH1 round of 16, defeating Marcelo Alves Conceicao 21-16 21-15.
“I want to tell all wheelchair athletes in India that we can do anything. As long as you are determined, you can defeat the top ranked players in the world.” – Prem Kumar Ale, gives a shout out to Indian wheelchair athletes.