South Korea’s Kim Jung Jun clinched a fourth consecutive men’s singles WH 2 gold medal as the Basel 2019 Para Badminton World Championships reached a thrilling conclusion on Sunday in Switzerland.
In a pulsating final which lived up to its billing, Kim’s chair speed and shot precision proved key as he overhauled a five-point deficit in the deciding third game against his great rival, Chan Ho Yuen of Hong Kong (21-18, 13-21, 21-18).
“I feel overwhelmed to retain the World Championships title,” Kim said. “I was nervous at first, but I was able to control the flow of the game and I’m really happy that I won.”
Remarkably, Kim had already come through a 79-minute men’s doubles final defeat to Mai Jianpeng and Qu Zimao of China with his partner, Lee Dong Seop.
“In my previous match I wasn’t able to play as much because all the shuttles were going to Lee, but it was a good moment to practise my movement on the court,” Kim said.
A fresher Chan – who is still the only player to beat Kim in international competition – was gracious in defeat.
“Today I think I have been 120 per cent on my form but he is just so good,” he said. “He is very, very precise – he gets every single point on the line.”
The men’s singles SL 4 final ended in agony for India’s No.2 seed Tarun Tarun, as his bid to snatch the gold from France’s Lucas Mazur was undone by an injury to his left knee. Tarun had to be stretchered off the court after falling to the floor while reaching for a return at 14-13 in the first.
“We are fighting for the past five or six years so to see a close match like this stopped by an injury, it is not good news,” Mazur said. “I am proud of my title of course, but this is not the first feeling for me. I am very sad for Tarun. I would like to hug him and wish him a very fast recovery.”
Lightening the mood for India was Pramod Bhagat, who fought back against England’s Daniel Bethell to win his first individual world title in the men’s singles SL 3 final (6-21, 21-14, 21-5).
“It’s a big achievement for me,” the 31-year-old said after ripping off his shirt and tossing it to the crowd. “I took it very lightly initially but then I read his game and started playing the strokes to make him fatigued.”
In the women’s singles SS 6, an emotional Carmen Poveda Flores of Peru beat England’s two-time world champion Rachel Choong in straight games (21-9, 21-19).
“It’s an honour to be number one in the world,” Flores said . “I’m going to have a party with (women’s doubles partner) Katherine Valli – or I’ll go out with my family. My mother, my sister and my uncles are here. We need to celebrate that because it was my moment and I gave my best effort.”
Sunday’s results of the Basel 2019 Para Badminton World Championships are available on the BWF’s website.