England’s para-badminton stars gave the nation another reason to celebrate last week as they claimed a record haul of 5 medals at the BWF 2011 Parabadminton World Championships in Guatemala City.
The English contingent returned home from Central America with a quintet of 5 bronze medals to their name, after a series of strong performances against the best parabadminton players the world has to offer.
There was double delight for Avon’s Bobby Griffin who snared a pair of bronze medals in the STL3a Mens Singles and STL3 Mens Doubles categories – despite suffering a badly broken sport prosthesis early in the tournament.
Griffin claimed bronze in the Singles with a 21-8, 21-7 win over Evgeni Khodakov from Russia but his chase for gold was halted, somewhat unexpectedly, in defeats to Australia’s Rod Rantall and Steven Moodie from Scotland.
Griffin then doubled up on the podium, pairing with Moodie to win bronze in the Mens Doubles. Despite a tight 15-21, 21-19, 8-21 win over Randall and Oliver in the Quarter Finals, the Anglo-Scot duo were forced to settle for bronze after a 12-21, 9-21 loss to Malaysian duo Fozi and Sydney at the Semi Final stage.
There was also a podium place for Hertfordshire’s Gobi Ranganathan in the W3 Mixed Doubles discipline. Teaming up on court with Turkey’s Emine Seckin, Ranganathan pulled off an impressive 21-17 21-10 win over the Hong Kong/Netherlands pair of Ho Yeung Chan and Inge Bakke to win an unexpected Bronze medal.
In the STU5 Men’s Doubles, Antony Forster (Avon) and Israel’s Eyal Bachar lived up to their 2nd seed billing by topping their group with two wins, earning themselves a bye to the semi-final stage. However, their dream of gold was dashed as they suffered a 16-21 17-21 reversal to Japan’s Kohei Obara & Gen Shoyaki, meaning another bronze medal.
Krysten Coombs (Devon) was the other medallist for the English, grabbing 3rd place in the STD7 Men’s Singles. The 2nd seed’s two wins against Australian opponents were balanced against defeats to Russia’s Alexander Mekhidev and, eventual champion, Niall McVeigh (Ireland).
BADMINTON England’s Disability Manager Tom Webster was proud of the English efforts over the course of the Championships, stating “I’m delighted with the resolve and skill shown by the players, who have shown great spirit and tenacity in representing their country.
To bring back 5 medals from a top class event is an outstanding achievement”.
Webster also picked out the efforts of 2 England players who, despite not medalling, put in noteworthy performances, reserving individual praise for Meva Singh Dhesi, who “will take great heart after giving the second seeds a big scare in his international tournament as a wheelchair user” and David Follett as showed himself capable of competing at this level in the W1/2 category.
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