With less than a week to go until the World Championships get underway, the International Paralympic Committee has announced the 2019 Ones to Watch for Para badminton.
The seven athletes that make up the list are those expected to hit the headlines and win medals at the Worlds, as well as make an impact at the sport’s upcoming Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
Further information on each player is now available on the IPC website.
Ayako Suzuki, JPN
As the world No. 1 in her category of SU 5, Suzuki has a strong chance of making it back-to-back titles at the 2019 World Championships in Basel, Switzerland.
Chan Ho Yuen, HKG
The Hong Kong athlete delivered the upset of 2018 when he beat South Korea’s previously undefeated Kim Jungjun at the Australia International, and will be a strong contender for gold in the men’s WH 2 at Basel 2019.
Jack Shephard, ENG
At just 22 years old, Jack Shephard is already a world and European champion, and no doubt is targeting a Paralympic title for his collection next year. He is favourite to win back to back world golds in the men’s SS 6 in Basel.
Leani Ratri Oktila, INA
Leani Ratri Oktila has had success not only in singles, but doubles and mixed doubles in the SL 4 category. This year alone, the 28-year-old has completed a pair of triple crowns at the Irish International and Canada International.
Lucas Mazur, FRA
The world No. 1 in the men’s singles SL 4 has reached the final in all four of his competitions in 2019. There is no question he is a favourite to battle for gold at the Worlds, especially as the reigning world and European champion.
Pilar Jauregui, PER
After winning the 2018 Pan Am Championships in the women’s WH 2, she has continued that success this year, capturing singles gold at the Uganda International and bronze at the Canada International, proving she is a medal contender ahead of Basel 2019.
Valeska Knoblauch, GER
Since winning gold at the 2018 European Championships, Valeska Knoblauch has continued to rise in the rankings. Currently No. 1 in the world in the women’s WH 1, the German athlete has had a loaded 2019 season competing at five Internationals.