Japan hosted its first ever Para-Badminton event last week, bringing in the strongest competitors to an international event yet.
Scotland had three athletes competing in the event with SL3 players Colin Leslie and Alan Oliver as well as SL4 player Mary Wilson.
In the singles events, Colin and Mary came through their groups to the knock-out stages of the events, Colin losing out in the last 16 in a three-set battle to one of the Japanese home favourites and Mary losing in the quarter finals to German 1st seed.
In doubles events, all three of our competitors were with different partners and in the strongest tournament to date the boys were unlucky to reach the knock-out stages.
Mary secured a bronze with Chinese partner Hefang Cheng after coming through their group in second place. They went on to beat the Japanese second seeds in the quarter finals with an astonishing three-set win: 21-16 16-21 27-25. In the semi-final, they were edged out by 1st seeds from Germany and Norway – 20-22 21-17 21-19 – in another close battle.
In the SL3-SU5 mixed doubles event all three competitors lost out in some very close and tough matches in their groups with none coming through to the knock-out stages.
Our players were also treated to the Yonex Legends Vision tour, where they were treated to an on-court demonstration and games with Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan, Peter Gade, Lee Yong Dae and Taufik Hidayat. Mary, after her success in the doubles, was given the opportunity to play some mixed doubles with Taufik Hidayat and the Danish pairing of Peter Gade and SU5 player Cathrine Rosengren.
With the announcement of the classifications for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games being made last week, the standard of Para-Badminton is only going to get much stronger and with limited places in each event it will be a fight to get those spots. Our players have seen and competed on the world’s best stage and must continue to work hard towards the goal of competing in Tokyo in three years’ time.