GB’s leading SL3 standing Para-Badminton star Dan Bethell made a medal winning return from five months out injured in Dubai on Sunday to net silver at the Dubai International.
The reigning European champion has been sidelined since winning European gold in France last October but he was back with a bang as runner up in Dubai, beating two world top five stars from Asia en route to mark a strong start to his Paralympic qualification year.
The Wiltshire-born star, seeded for the semis, missed out 21-15 18-21 13-21 to India’s world number one Pramod Bhagat in the final but will see only progress from an event in which he reached the semi finals 12 months ago before bowing out to the same opponent in straight games.
After beating World silver medallist Manoj Sarkar from India in the round of 16, Bethell landed silver after defeating Japan’s number one Daisuke Fujihara at the semi final stage.
Bethell has now beaten the Japanese star twice in two events having defeated him on home turf at the 2018 Japanese Para-Badminton International – a test event at the host venue for the Para-Badminton’s Paralmpic debut – staged in September.
After seeing his teammates leave Turkey empty handed as the race to a Paralympic debut in Tokyo 2020 got under way two weeks ago Bethell’s medal sparked a haul of four for GB in Dubai.
Krysten Coombs won SS6 mens singles silver, despite holding match points for gold, whilst SS6 world champion Jack Shephard and WH2 wheelchair star Martin Rooke both won bronze in their respective classifications.
Photography credit and credit: Alan Spink, ActionPhotography