A bumper team of 54 English players made their way to Glasgow this weekend to compete in the 4 Nations Parabadminton Series 2011 Scottish Championships, even outnumbering their hosts and again proving that parabadminton in England continues to grow in popularity. By the end of Sunday, they were celebrating a great haul of 13 Gold medals and 14 Silvers.
Hazel Johnson (Lancs) again provided one of the stand-out performances of the weekend, as she prepares to represent Great Britain in the Special Olympics World Games in Athens in June. She swept aside Emily Eyre, her team-mate from Bolton Lads and Girls club, 21-17; 21-8 in the final of the Learning Disability class one Women’s Singles, before teaming up with Eyre to ease to a win in the final of the class one ladies doubles with a comprehensive 21-4; 21-3 win over Scottish/Irish pair Dianne Gillan and Clare O’Neill. Bolton Lads and Girls had further cause for celebration as Sam Muschamp put in a fine display in the learning disabilities class one men’s singles and men’s doubles to secure Silver in both events. Muschamp was also agonisingly eased into the runner-up spot in the final of the Learning disabilities class one mixed doubles with club-mate Samantha Monk. Monk and Catherine Carson were able to use their experience playing together to bring home the Learning disabilities class two ladies doubles, winning the final 21-5; 19-21; 21-8.
Another club celebrating fine performances over the weekend was Phoenix Badminton Club from Aylesbury. The experienced Denny Vettom (Bucks) missed out in the final of the wheelchair class one and two men’s singles after being beaten by Scotland’s David Quarrie. Vettom was able to make up for that disappointment by taking the Combined Wheelchair men’s doubles partnering Owen Kilburn (Notts) in a straight games victory over David Follett and David Crossman (Devon) before combining with Scotland’s Morag Johnson to triumph in the combined wheelchair mixed doubles, overcoming Kilburn and Paula Robinson (Notts) after a three game battle 17-21; 21-6; 21-15. However, the biggest story in the wheelchair classes was the triumph of Vettom’s club-mate Martin Rooke in class three men’s singles. In a draw that was intriguingly open after multiple champion Gobi Ranaganathan (Herts) was ruled out as he recuperates from surgery, Rooke (Bucks) stormed to victory in his first 4 Nations tournament, over-powering David Crossman 21-11; 21-12 in the final.
Rachel Choong (Lancs) continued her dominance of the dwarf classifications with a triple gold medal haul. In a comprehensive display, she triumphed in straight games over Scotland’s Deidre Nagle in the ladies singles final; teamed up with Jenny Greasley (Hants) to take the ladies doubles over Nagle and Ireland’s Emma Farnham again in straight games, and then completed the sweep by partnering doubles specialist Andrew Martin (Kent) to mixed doubles gold with a 21-6; 21-7 win over Farnham and Lee Hill (Beds). Martin also took home men’s doubles gold with regular partner Ollie Clarke (Kent), leaving Hill to take another silver alongside partner Jack Shephard (Yorks). Despite the disappointment, this can be considered a ‘coming-of-age’ performance from the young pair, as the depth of quality in the dwarf section continues to grow. In addition, Clarke took Silver in the men’s singles, outdone by Ireland’s Niall McVeigh, and Isaac Dalglish (Lancs) took the U13 singles title.
The standing categories continue to be dominated by Bruno Forbes (Middx), who took the standing men’s doubles with partner Daniel Lee (Middx) after a dominant performance in the final saw off Bobby Griffin (Avon) and Scotland’s Steven Moodie. Forbes then overcame Lee 23-25; 21-15; 21-16 after a tense three game battle.
All eyes will now turn to the 4 Nations Parabadminton Series 2011 English Championships. With the final ranking points of the season to battle for, a bumper entry looks likely at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury for the 13th-15th May.