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Five reasons why England rule at the European Paras.

England topping the medal table at the European ParaBadminton Championships has become an all too familiar scene but one we will never get bored of seeing.

This week in France, the Richard Morris-inspired powerhouse of talent showed no signs of slowing as Tokyo draws attention.

Eight golds - two more than in Holland last year - backed up by four silver and five bronze medals from the travelling English continent give every reason to suggest that even when the world may want to catch up England are ready to go again. 

Here are a famous five reasons why GB have every reason to be confident as a Paralympic debut draws ever closer.

1. Jack of all trades - Master of all.
It’s not often a sporting World Champion goes in hunt of a first European title but that was the mission of SS6 Para-Badminton superstar Jack Shephard in France.

For the past 12 months Shephard has bossed the Para-Badminton world, topping the world ranking and winning the world crown. He looks every inch the posterboy for Para-Badminton’s Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

The only thing missing: a Men’s Singles European title. 
Shephard nailed that to complete the set this weekend in France – and he did so in emphatic form by not dropping a game. And he will tell you having Krysten Coombs push him all the way in almost every final he reaches is key to his success.

2. Shephard and Coombs – the pair that can’t stop winning!


12 months ago, Jack Shephard and Krysten Coombes won World silver when they were narrowly beaten by the then world number ones. The pair remember remember that day as a milestone now: it was the last time they lost on court together.

England’s SS6 men’s doubles pair have been untouchable in the past year, winning everything on offer to them. In fact, their being pushed to three games here by compatriots Dalglish and Martin in Sunday's final has been one of the tougher matches in those unbeaten 12 months.

Their title win today confirmed a successful defence of the European crown they won 2 years ago in Holland.

3. Six of the very best for Rooke


When it comes to WH wheelchair kings, Martin Rooke uses his throne to maximum effect.
The Hertfordshire man has not lost a singles match at the Europeans now in 6 seasons, dating back to the 2012 Championships. 

The 2018 win to maintain the 100% hot streak came against the top seed and world number four - and then Rooke went and added the doubles gold to his tally playing with his German partner.

Be it mixed or men's, he’s a triple ‘double gold’ winner in WH1.
All this from a man who just 4 months ago was suffering so much pain in his hips and legs that he was struggling to get around a court.
When it comes to sheer bloody-mindedness and will to win, Rooke is every inch the world’s best.

4. Brilliant Bethell


Three is the lucky number for Avon’s Dan Bethell but there is absolutely no need for luck when it comes to his hat trick of European titles in SL3 category. Bethell is simply too good for the field and that comes through hard work.

He has retained his Euro twice now and, this weekend, did so without dropping a set.
Add the recent Japan International title into the mix where he beat Japan’s best player in his backyard – the Paralympic venue none less – and Dan’s been the go to man over recent months.

5. Coombs’ golden haul
He may have had missed out on defending his 2016 men’s singles SS6 title to his team mate but Krysten Coombs now has 4 European gold medals to his name.

He is world number one in doubles, world number two in singles and is once against European champion - and yet he still works part time in Ikea where he’s more than happy to get a break away from court.

One thing is for sure Coombs is stacking up the title wins that make him one of the very best at world level.

 

Look out for more reaction from the European Para-Badminton Championships coming soon.
Photo credits and copyright: Alan Spink, ActionPhotography cc ParaBadminton GB