Dan Bethell

28 February, 2024

Dan Bethell insists his Para Badminton World Championships silver in Thailand will make fulfilling his golden Paralympic dreams at Paris 2024 ‘even sweeter’.

The para badminton titan, who went unbeaten for the entirety of 2023, fell to Pramod Bhagat in the SL3 final in Thailand last week but the 28-year-old’s appetite for the highest accolade has not been weakened.

Foe of old Bhagat, who also pipped Bethell to gold at the 2019 Para Badminton World Championships and at Tokyo 2020, came out on top in Pattaya in a close 21-14 15-21 14-21 match.

With six months to go until the curtain raises on the Paralympic Games, Bethell admits there is still work to do on his run-in but remains adamant he will come back stronger from defeat in Thailand.

He said: “It’s going on the side of disappointment more than celebration because I was really hoping to get out there and get the gold, especially after last year going undefeated.

“Going in as world number one as well, to not do that was quite disappointing, I thought I played well in the final, I really dug in.

“He changed his tactics and I didn’t adapt well enough so I came out second best which was frustrating.

“We’ve had a really good run but in every sport at this level those winning runs never last forever.

“It’s absolutely gutting that it’s come to an end at a World Championships final but no one is unbeatable and it’s an opportunity we have to learn from and come back a lot stronger.

“We picked a few areas that we can work on that, come Paris, will make a win at the Paralympics a lot sweeter because of it.”

Rachel Choong, Jack Shephard and Krysten Coombs are also preparing with their Paralympic run-in ahead of the summer.

Competition remains strong in Bethell’s SL3 classification with up-and-coming star Kumar Nitesh from India proving himself on the world stage.

Bethell battled past the sport’s latest rising talent 21-18 20-22 21-14 in the World Championships semi-final and knows he will have to bring his best game to the Paralympic stage to make it to the top of the podium.

He said: “Nitesh has established himself as one of the best in the world alongside myself.

“He’s probably the most skilful player in SL3, it’s a very good matchup between me and him and it’s a very strong game style, it was a really long fight in an hour-and-a-half match.

“In the final I started to go a bit too aggressive and leak too many points out of the side and into the net and that’s what eventually cost me the game. It’s a sign that I was disappointed by that at a World Championships level.

“To have a medal shows the level that I’ve got to and the expectations I’ve got on myself.

“I wasn’t my best in the final, I didn’t play anywhere near the level I’d been finding over the last year and I still managed to push really close with a 40-minute match.

“I felt in control, I’m doing every thing that I need to and when I do that I still feel like I’m the most difficult player to beat.”

Image: BadmintonPhoto

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