Krysten Coombs hopes his Paralympic success can inspire future generations of badminton players after making his own dreams come true with SH6 bronze in Tokyo.
Coombs impressively rallied from a game down to beat Brazil’s Vitor Tavares 12-21, 21-10, 21-16 to win ParalympicsGB’s second badminton medal after Dan Bethell’s silver yesterday.
The sport was making its Paralympic debut in Japan and Coombs knows his medal is the result of plenty of hard work from the entire British team.
“It’s a dream come true. To be able to come away from these amazing Games with a bronze medal, it’s just unreal,” said the 30-year-old.
“Dan medalled yesterday and to be able to do it together, the bronze medal isn’t just mine – it’s theirs as well. We’ve all worked together so hard over these last few years and qualified for Tokyo. It’s just amazing.”
World No.5 Coombs was the lowest ranked player in his group but, despite losing to Chu Man Kai, sealed a last-four spot following his opening-match victory over fellow ParalympicsGB star Jack Shephard.
Eventual Paralympic champion Krishna Nagar got the better of Coombs in the semi-final but a medal was still up for grabs in the bronze-medal match.
Tavares started superbly, racing into an 8-2 lead, though Coombs settled into the match after that and closed the gap to 10-7.
However he found it difficult to establish momentum. Tavares impressed as he built a 17-8 lead, and maintained his advantage as he took the opening game 21-12.
Coombs responded strongly at the beginning of game two, opening out an 8-4 lead in the early stages.
The Brit dominated thereon, storming to a 15-5 lead at one stage with Tavares unable to deal with Coombs’ attacks as the game went to parity once more.
After a tight start to the deciding game, Coombs forced an early advantage to lead 7-3, only for the world No.4 to battle back to 8-8.
Coombs was able to rebuild his advantage to lead 15-10, surviving a late fightback to win four of the last five points and claim his first Paralympic medal, one that he hopes encourages people to try the sport.
He said: “It’s a way of inspiring people now to get into badminton and to take part. Hopefully there’s a generation of para players in Great Britain and all over the world who can take the sport up and go for medals like me!
“Hopefully this will inspire a whole generation. It’s an awesome sport as you can see, and there’s so many opportunities with it as well.
“I’d like to think I can inspire other kids with dwarfism at home, that there is a journey and you can be successful with it!”
Inspired to play? Try para-badminton now.