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Shephard and Choong crowned para badminton world champions

'I'm mens singles world champion' are three words Jack Shephard has been wanting to say for a very long time.

But his childhood dream has finally come true after winning SS6 men's singles gold at the Para Badminton World Championships in Ulsan, Korea - and it is another world title, after his mens doubles success in 2015, to add to the collection.

Shephard, seeded to make the semi finals, came from behind to defeat fellow Englishman Krysten Coombs, prevailing 10-21 21-19 23-21 in a 49-minute thriller. All this after beating the second seed to reach the gold medal match.

Shephard and Coombs both won men's singles bronze at the last edition of the championships, which took place in Stoke Mandeville, two years ago before pairing to win men's doubles gold.

Para-Badminton will make its Paralympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games, making this the perfect time for the English duo to make a step up the podium.

The day wasn't done there for Shephard and Coombs, however, as they went on to seal men's doubles silver.

Hong Kong's Chu Man Kai and Wong Chun Yim triumphed to take the title, but nothing was going to wipe the smile from the face of a delighted Shephard.

"Becoming world men’s singles champion was a dream of mine at the age of 14," said Shephard, now 20.

"After major surgery and years of hard work it’s incredible to think I can now say I’m world champion!"

Elsewhere, Rachel Choong enjoyed a day to remember as she successfully defended three titles from 2015, making it 8 world titles in 9 events since 2013.

Alongside Andrew Martin, Choong first won mixed doubles gold, defeating Fabien Morat and English team-mate Rebecca Bedford 21-9 21-6.

It was another easy victory in the women's singles as she prevailed 21-15 21-7 over Peru's Carmen Giuliana Poveda Flores, before wrapping up the hat-trick of titles in the women's doubles with Bedford, triumphing 21-5 21-8 against Maria Bartusz and Emma Farnham of Poland and Ireland, respectively.

"It was an amazing day," said head coach Rich Morris.

"Watching the team succeed on the big stage made me a very proud coach.

"I know the amount of time, effort and cash that has been put into badminton from these players and to see them reach their goals was perfect."

 

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