It was six days of thrilling badminton and respectful sportsmanship at the TOTAL BWF Para-Badminton World Championships 2019, which took place in Basel, Switzerland from 20 to 25 August.
More than 300 Para badminton athletes took to the courts in 22 wheelchair and standing events, showcasing some of the most exciting matches between competitors and compatriots.
Men’s singles SU5 bronze medallist Bartlomiej Mroz of Poland described his experience as a feeling of being at home while Indonesia’s Leani Ratri Oktila, women’s singles SL4 champion said: “We’re all equals here. When we are on the court we compete and we have a lot of respect for the person facing us. Off-court, we are all friends.”
Mutual respect was clearly evident in the men’s single finals WH2 finals between Korea’s Kim Jungjun and Chan Ho Yuen of Hong Kong China. “I’m sure I will see him again soon,” said Kim after securing the singles world title for the fourth time in a match that showcased Kim’s delicate accuracy in shuttle placement versus Chan’s powerful strokes.
Kim was not the only player who executed a repeat performance this year.
China, England and Indonesia were three nations that fielded reigning champions in their respective classes, many of whom retained their titles.
China’s Liu Yutong, who made her mark when she won the women’s singles WH2 in 2017 at the age of 13, did it again this year, proving her exceptionally superior standing as one of the best female wheelchair athletes in the badminton world.
Liu then partnered Yin Menglu to secure the women’s doubles WH1-2 gold, defeating World No. 2 Amnouy Wetwithan and Sujirat Pookham of Thailand.
Qu Zimao, 17 years old and another of China’s rising stars, goes home with two titles – partnering Mai Jianpeng to win the men’s doubles WH1-2 against Korea’s Lee Dong Seop/Kim Jungjun, and the men’s singles WH1 denying Lee of another chance at gold.
England’s Jack Shephard is now a two-time men’s singles SS6 world champion while Rachel Choong and Rebecca Bedford secured their third women’s doubles SS6 gold.
Dheva Anrimusthi, champion in 2017, was pushed to the limit before his men’s singles SU5 win this year, proof that the standard of Para badminton has risen in the wake of athletes vying for positions at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. “Everyone is playing at such a high level and I cannot say who will be the toughest to beat,” said Anrimusthi at the start of the tournament.
Came from all over the world for one reason : badminton, victory and medals.
— BWF (@bwfmedia) August 26, 2019
Anrimusthi also took his second men’s doubles SU5 gold with partner Hafizh Briliansyah Prawiranegara.
Indonesia, traditionally doubles specialists in the badminton world, won the mixed doubles SL3-SU5 through the efforts of Oktila and partner Hary Susanto, while Oktila added a silver to her personal collection from the women’s doubles SL3-SU5 with Khalimatus Sadiyah Sukohandoko.
Screams of joy echoed through the halls from first-time winners, one of whom was Carmen Giuliana Poveda Flores, who will take home Peru’s first badminton world championship gold medal.
An ecstatic Pramod Bhagat of India became a men’s doubles SL3-SL4 winner with partner Manoj Sarkar and a gold medallist in the SL3, both titles that eluded him two years ago. Teammate Manasi Girichandra Joshi ensured her hard work paid off when she dethroned women’s singles SL defending champion Parul Dalsukhbahi Parmar.
And Japan’s Sarina Satomi who missed out on her chance at a women’s doubles WH1-2 medal when partner Yuma Yamazaki withdrew due to illness, was a winner anyway when she defeated Sujirat Pookham of Thailand for the women’s singles WH1 gold.
The biggest collector of gold medals is China with seven gold. Indonesia won four gold medals while England and India go home with three gold each.
“It’s been an amazing experience. For me personally to win but also to see all my friends here,” said Poveda, in the perfect summary of a week of sportsmanship and camaraderie.