GB Para-Badminton Head Coach Richard Morris says his world leading players will learn more about their game after seeing Jack Shephard and Krysten Coombs – the SS6 mens singles world ranked 1 and 2 – suffer semi final losses in Turkey.
Shephard and Coombs have dominated the world circuit over the past 18 months culminating in a world championships gold and an all-English SS6 singles final becoming a regular norm at international level.
So semi final defeats for the pair are uncommon, unfamiliar and could be considered somewhat untimely with Paralympic qualification now open; the Turkey International being the first of 12 ranking point events for Tokyo 2020.
Both missed out to Asian rivals; Shephard losing to India’s Nagar Krishna and Hong Kong’s Man Kai Chu – the eventual champion - ending Coombs’ charge.
To many, Shephard’s – the reigning world champion, world number one and event’s top seed – 21-23 21-13 13-21 exit to the unseeded Krishna could be viewed as a shock.
But mentor Morris insists the losses are not immediate cause for concern for the duo and admits they will only make the duo more determined to raise their game further.
“They are not surprises to us. Krishna is a very good player and Man Kai Chu brings a very different challenge for us to counter.
“Jack and Krysten will learn more about themselves and their game from these defeats than they will have done from the many wins and finals they have enjoyed over the past 18 months.
It’s results like these now that are good for the players and will only add to their desire and hunger to remain at the top of the world rankings.
"They let us know where the world is at and what we need to do to stay ahead. We now have new things we can work on.”
England’s Para-Badminton heavyweights have an immediate chance to redress the balance and put into practise what they have learnt at next week’s Dubai International – just the second to be hosted in the emirates city - where another bumper 275 strong global entry awaits.
Morris added “Its been a long time since the world’s best came together and it’s a long road to Tokyo ahead.
"We have been learning all week whilst picking up vital ranking points that we will need towards the games.”
All photo credit and copyright: Alan Spink, ActionPhotography