Paralympic stars reach quarterfinals at Fazza Para Badminton International

Top seeds India’s Pramod Bhagat (MS SL3), Malaysian Cheah Liek Hou (MS SU5) and Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai (MS SH6) all topped their groups

By Team KT

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Two-time Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion Japan's Daiki Kajiwara in action. — Supplied photo
Two-time Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion Japan's Daiki Kajiwara in action. — Supplied photo

Published: Thu 26 May 2022, 11:42 PM

The 4th Fazza Dubai Para Badminton International 2022 has reached the mid-way stage, with the competition getting intense and exciting from here on, after the group stages ended here on Thursday.

As expected, top seeds including Paralympic medallists India’s Pramod Bhagat (MS SL3), Malaysian Cheah Liek Hou (MS SU5), Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai (MS SH6), Indonesians Fredy Setiawan (MS SL4) and Suryo Nugroho (MS SU5) all topped their groups and advanced to the quarterfinals.

Malaysian Cheah Liek Hou. — Supplied photo
Malaysian Cheah Liek Hou. — Supplied photo

The two-time Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion Daiki Kajiwara, however, was stretched to the limit by Korean Yu Sooyoung before he won it 21-23, 21-10, 21-17, in a repeat of the finals at the recent Bahrain 2022 Para Badminton International.

He next faces Marc Elmer of Switzerland in the last 16.

“It's nice to be back in Dubai. I took some time to get my rhythm today. Yoo produced an improved show than last time we met in Bahrain,” said Kajiwara who is likely to meet his arch rival Jung Jun in the semi-finals.

Other Paralympic medallists Kim Jung Jun and Daniel Chan Ho Yuen (both WH2) also advanced to last 16.

In the women's events, India’s reigning world champion Manasi Joshi and Parul Parmar reached the quarter-finals after topping their groups in women’s singles SL3.

In women's singles SU5, Japanese Kaede Kameyama and Akiko Sugino are into the quarters, so as India's Manisha Ramadass who is expected to face Denmark's Cathrine Rosengrean in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, UAE para shuttler Salama Al Khateri finished her campaign on the day after losing her final group match to India’s Jyothi Jyothi in SL4 Group B match.

Thailand looks up to Amnouy to inspire new generation

Thailand’s Amnouy Wetwithan believes that age is just a number and she wants to inspire more young players with her performance as she aims for a gold at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

“Yes, I am already thinking about Paris 2024 and winning a gold there.”

“The main aim playing in Bahrain and Dubai is to collect as many rankings points as I can.”

“I want to win the gold here,” said the 41-year-old Amnouy after winning 21-2, 21-1 over Bolourkesh Fatemeh of Iran to finish second in Group C at the ongoing 4th Fazza Dubai Para Badminton International 2022.

In absence of her doubles partner at the Amnouy is focusing the women’s singles and mixed doubles game. Amnouy and Sujirat Pookkham teamed to clinch the bronze in women’s doubles WH1-WH2 category in Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Pookkham also has a silver in the women’s singles WH2 event.

“I want to continue playing for a long time and go for my dream goal – the Paralympic gold medal. I also want to inspire women players in the country to take up the sport. I want them to believe in themselves and that nothing is impossible,” said Amnouy.

Team coach Thitipong Lapho said the nation has a lot of hopes on the senior doubles specialist. “Her presence is very important in the team. She is one of the senior players and this makes an impact on the juniors. At the same time, we also don’t want to overload her with a lot of responsibility. We just want her to win play some good matches.”

The coach pointed out that the team is also banking on the mixed doubles pair of Siripong Teamarrom and Mongkhon Bunsun and the new SH6 pair Natthapong Meechai and Chai Saeyang for a medal at Paris 2024.

“Before that we hope to win many medals, including some at the Fazza Championships. We love coming to Dubai and the atmosphere here is great.”

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