Mixed Shephard Choong (2)

Three returning Paralympians and one trailblazing debutant will form ParalympicsGB’s badminton squad at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games this summer.

Dan Bethell, Krysten Coombs and Jack Shephard, who all featured when the sport made its Paralympic debut in Tokyo three years ago, have been selected alongside Rachel Choong who will make history when she becomes the first female athlete to represent ParalympicsGB in the sport.

World number one Bethell claimed ParalympicsGB’s first ever medal in the sport when he won silver in the SL3 men’s singles at the rescheduled Tokyo Games in 2021, with Coombs earning bronze in the SH6 men’s singles two days later.

Bethell said: “To be heading to another Paralympic Games is hugely exciting. Winning silver in Tokyo was amazing but it remains my goal to become Paralympic champion. I don’t feel like I’ve reached my full potential yet and I don’t feel like I’ve peaked, so it’s all about continuing to work hard, moving forward and getting those big results.”

Shephard joins Coombs in the SH6 men’s singles draw and this time will compete on two fronts. The 26-year-old from Chesterfield also joins forces with Liverpudlian Choong in the SH6 mixed doubles, an event which did not feature in the Tokyo programme. The pair currently sit top of the world rankings together.

SH6 women’s singles has also been added to the schedule and Britain will be represented by 10-time world champion Choong, who is currently ranked fourth in the world.

Choong added: “I was in Tokyo as a commentator – it was amazing to be inside the arena and see it all, but strange to be at a competition and not playing. To have the opportunity to perform on the Paralympic stage is surreal and so special. It is what I have been striving towards since I started playing, back when we were in sports halls in front of not many spectators. Now we will play in an arena in front of thousands, and this summer will be my biggest competition yet. I can’t wait.”

Shephard said: “It was fantastic to take part in Tokyo but I feel I have some unfinished business on the court. This time will be even more special as our family and friends can be there to support us, and I’m looking forward to the singles and the doubles alongside Rachel. Winning a medal or two this summer would be a dream come true.”

Coombs added: “Standing on the Paralympic podium in Tokyo was the proudest moment of my career and I can’t wait for the opportunity to do so again in Paris.

“Preparations are going really well, we are a tight-knit group and we are so excited to get out there and get stuck in.”

Coombs medal 1200x410 1

Penny Briscoe, ParalympicsGB’s Chef de Mission for Paris 2024 said: “I’m delighted to welcome Daniel, Jack and Krysten back to the ParalympicsGB team bound for Paris later this summer, and of course absolutely thrilled that Rachel now has the opportunity to showcase her amazing talent and character as the first female badminton player to represent ParalympicsGB.

“Our four athletes have all shown tremendous ability simply in securing their places in the team and I look forward to seeing what they can achieve at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.”

Badminton England’s Para programme head coach Richard Morris said: “Paralympic medals are definitely a goal of the team here and I am so proud of the four selected players. The excitement is huge. Para badminton has only ever had one Paralympic Games, Tokyo was behind closed doors so we didn’t get the full experience. This is our biggest tournament to date and if we can go out there and win some medals, that would be amazing.”

A total of around 230 athletes from 19 sports are expected to make up the British team that will compete in Paris, with further names to be announced by ParalympicsGB in the next few weeks.

At Tokyo 2020 ParalympicsGB won medals across a record breaking 18 different sports – the highest number of any nation ever. ParalympicsGB finished second on the medal table with 124 medals overall, including 41 gold, 38 silver and 45 bronze.

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