From the 3rd-5th May, Dortmund’s TSC Sports Centre played host to the 10th edition of the parabadminton calendar’s oldest tournament, with a large English entry travelling to Germany fresh from dominating at the 4 Nations 2011 English Championships in May.
Andrew Martin (Kent) dominated the STD7 Dwarf Class Men’s Singles competition, despite facing World No.1 Niall McVeigh (Ireland), who had beaten him in the final of the 4 Nations, in his group. Martin, who had been seen before this season as more of a doubles specialist, defeated McVeigh 21-17; 21-19 to progress as group winner to the semi-finals. In the semi-final, he met another Irish player, Luke Irvine, and progressed easily 21-7; 21-7.
In the other half of the draw, Devon’s Krysten Coombs went down to his doubles partner McVeigh. Coombs, who had also topped his group, lost an epic first game 25-27, before succumbing 16-21 in the second game and having to settle for a bronze medal. This set the scene for the final, and Martin again emerged triumphant with a hard-fought 21-11; 14-21; 21-18 victory. The impressive Martin also secured Silver in the Standing Mixed Doubles, partnering Germany’s Milena Hoffman to three victories and only one defeat in the round-robin.
Bobby Griffin (Avon), in his first international tournament, secured two Silver medals in the STL3a Class. After topping his group in the Men’s Singles by beating an Australian and a German player without dropping a game, Griffin eased past Japan’s Kiyoshi Ujiie 21-5; 21-6. However, in the final he came up short against good friend and doubles partner Steven Moodie (Scotland). Despite taking the first game, Griffin was unable to press home his advantage and went down 21-19; 19-21; 14-21. In the doubles Griffin/Moodie overcame the top seeded German/Australian pair in the semi final, coming from behind to take an epic match 17-21; 22-20; 23-21. On the other half of the draw, English pair Will Smith (Nld) and Scott Richardson (Beds) couldn’t get the better of Japanese pair Uiije/Sakamoto and lost 8-21; 18-21. Despite taking an early lead in the final, it was another near miss for Griffin as he and Moodie lost 21-19; 13-21; 12-21.
Will Smith added a Singles Silver to his Doubles Bronze in the STL2a class. After one victory and one defeat in his group earned him a semi-final spot, Smith produced the performance of his life to overcome Hong Kong’s Chiu Pong Tsang 21-12, 19-21, 21-18. In the final, Smith faced Vietnam’s Tang Pham Hoang, who had earlier beaten him in the group stages. The final went in a similar pattern, with Smith eventually losing 10-21; 13-21. However, his performances should see him break into the top 5 in the World rankings for his class.
Antony Forster (Avon), top seed in the STU5 alongside his German partner Frank Dietel, overcame Japanese pair Gen Shogaki and Kohei Obara in the semi-finals in a see-saw match 21-16; 14-21; 21-17. However, they were left with silver after Turkish pair Tunahan Eser and Ilker Tuzcu, who had also beaten them in the group stages, took the final 23-21; 21-18.
Bruno Forbes and Daniel Lee (Mdx) celebrated a Silver medal in the STL3 Men’s Doubles, behind the winning pair from Hong Kong Lee and Yu, making up for their disappointment in both missing out on the semi-finals in the Singles event.
In the Wheelchair events, 6 English players made their debut in international competition. While the increase in standard may have shocked some of the players, there were still several creditable results. Sharon Jones-Barnes (Mdx), partnering Turkey’s Emine Seckin, brought home a bronze medal in the W3 Women’s Doubles, while David Follet and David Crossman (both Devon) made the quarter-finals of the W2 and W3 Men’s singles respectively. Follett can feel particular satisfaction as he outperformed all the other W1 classified players competing in the W2 event and therefore can expect a rankings boost shortly.
Disability Manager Tom Webster was delighted to see more English players testing themselves at the highest level. He said, “It’s good to see so many English players travel to Germany to test themselves against the best in the world. This can only raise the quality of parabadminton domestically – the players in their first international event will now see the level which they need to aspire to and I’m sure it will drive them to train even harder. My congratulations go to the medal winners – a haul of 1 Gold, 6 Silver and 3 Bronze medals is a great result.”
English players at the 10th German International Parabadminton Open:
Krysten Coombs (Devon)
David Crossman (Devon)
Rowan Crossman (Devon)
David Follett (Devon)
Bruno Forbes (Middlesex)
Antony Forster (Avon)
Paul Gray (Devon)
Bobby Griffin (Avon)
Sharon Jones-Barnes (Middlesex)
Owen Kilburn (Nottinghamshire)
Daniel Lee (Middlesex)
Andrew Martin (Kent)
Scott Richardson (Bedfordshire)
Meva Singh Dhesi (Middlesex)
William Smith (Northumberland)