It was a memorable week for US 14-year-old Miles Krajewski at the Basel 2019 Para Badminton World Championships last month. Not only did the teen reach his first world singles quarter final and doubles semi-final in the men’s SS 6 category, but he also realised a dream when he met the man who inspires him in the sport; world No. 1 Kento Momota.
The Japanese able-bodied player was competing alongside Krajewski as both competitions were played out simultaneously on the courts of Basel, allowing the Para player to meet his hero in person for the first time.
Just as Momota scored his quarter final winning point against Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia, across the hallway Krajewski secured his own quarter final spot with victory against Scotland’s Robert Laing.
"It was cool. It was fun meeting him in person. It was more cool than just seeing him play, because I got to see how he trains and all that stuff,” explained Krajewski.
"He's a big inspiration because he's World No.1 and he's really good."
Krajewski has been playing Para badminton since 2013 when he first took part in the World Dwarf Games.
“I love badminton. My aim is to compete in the Paralympics, either in 2020 or 2024.”
The lack of national Para badminton tournaments for his sport class in his country has not deterred this determined 14-year-old, who also competes in men’s and mixed doubles.
Even practice and training opportunities are limited where he lives and attends high school in South Dakota, USA, and Krajewski travels two hours away from home with this father on the weekends for training.
Krajewski has already racked up the medals, winning the men’s singles silver and partnering Vitor Goncalves of Brazil to win the men’s doubles gold at the 2018 Para-Pan Badminton event.
In the 2016 edition, he took home gold in men’s singles and doubles with partner Danh Trang of USA.