Saturday, August 24, 2019
TEXT BY GEETHANJALI LAKSHMAYYA | ALAN SPINK
The first five of the 22 finals scheduled at the TOTAL BWF Para-Badminton World Championships 2019 were played on the penultimate day of the tournament, awarding five World Championships titles, all in the standing class.
Rachel Choong and Rebecca Bedford made it third time lucky together when they defeated Peru’s Carmen Giuliana Poveda and Katherine Valli of the USA, 27-25 21-17 in the women’s doubles SS6 category.
“It’s third time hard work,” said Choong, who with Bedford won the title in 2015 and 2017.
Leani Ratri Oktila of Indonesia avenged her 2017 loss to Cheng Hefang of China in the women’s singles finals of SL4, when she won 21-16 21-16.
Oktila who has been chasing a big win since failing to secure the Asian Para Games title in 2018 which was held in her home country, stumbled halfway through the second game but recovered quickly enough to overcome Cheng.
“It was a little difficult somewhere along the way but I kept thinking that I just have to win this,” said Oktila who had already played four matches on the day.
“This is not as tiring as training. This is more a mental test and whoever is mentally stronger out there is the winner,” added Oktila.
Team India goes home with the most number of medals tonight with representation in three of the five finals.
It was an all-India final in the women’s singles SL3 where Manasi Girichandra Joshi dethroned her mentor and reigning champion Parul Dalsukhbhai Parmar 21-12 21-7.
“This is the first time I’ve beaten her so this is a big win. I just never expected it to be so easy because I’ve worked extremely hard to get here. I was completely prepared mentally and physically to face this and I’m so happy it worked out,” said Joshi.
The fatigue of playing five matches a day however has taken a toll on Joshi. “I have to be careful in choosing my events next time because so many matches in one day are tiring and hard on my leg.”
Another all-India final was in the men’s doubles SL3-SL4 between Pramod Bhagat/Manoj Sarkar and training buddies Tarun/Nitesh Kumar.
“We train together, we have faced each in many competitions so it was not a case of just trying to finish and win. We had to be careful because we both know each other’s game,” explained Sarkar, who earlier lost to partner Bhagat in the men’s singles SL3 semifinal.
After securing two gold and two silver, it fell on the men’s doubles SS6 pair of Raja Magotra/Krishna Nagar to follow suit but it was not to be as they fell to Chu Man Kai/Wong Chun Yim of Hong Kong China 15-21 21-17 18-21.
“Our opponents were rather aggressive in their attack but they made mistakes so we had to keep playing the rallies until we forced them to make more mistakes. Actually, I would prefer not to play long rallies,” said Wong.