Japan’s 19-year-old Daiki Kajiwara caused a major upset at the Yoyogi National Stadium shocking top seed and six-time world champion Kim Jung Jun of South Korea as the hosts clinched two gold on the final day of Para Badminton events.
Kajiwara defeated Jung Jun in straight games 21-18, 21-19 for the men’s singles WH2 gold medal as the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games came to a close on Sunday, September 5, 2021.
Kajiwara, who took up Para badminton only in 2017, said he had always dreamt of winning the Paralympic gold.
“I was always hoping to get the gold medal, and now that this dream has come true for me; I’m super happy,” said an elated Kajiwara, who also has a bronze in mixed doubles Sl3-SU5 along with Akiko Sugino.
When asked if it is now his time to dominate in the sport, the teenager added: “I don’t know. I’m not expecting to be famous or anything. Now that I’ve won a Paralympic gold, I want to thank everyone who has supported me. I’m full of gratitude.”
Sarina clinches her second
Meanwhile, local favourite and top seeded Satomi Sarina made it two out of two with a come-from-behind-win in the women's doubles WH1-WH2 final.
Sarina and her partner Yuma Yamazaki to rally from a game down and overcome China’s second seeded Liu Yutong and Yin Menglu 16-21, 21-16, 21-13 in a match that lasted more than an hour
Sarina, who already claimed the women’s singles WH1 title on Saturday, was proud of herself to stand in the podium of two events:
“It's amazing I got here to take two gold medals. "I'm really proud of myself.”
Yamazaki added: “It was my goal to win this gold medal, especially in the doubles. I have put all my strength and power into the doubles.”
"The way this game has ended for me was just perfect. I'm really happy.”
Indonesia’s Oktila completes a double
In the Standing events, doubles specialist Leani Ratri Oktila came out with a brilliant display of stamina and skills as she alongwith her partner Hary Susanto clinched Indonesia’s second gold in Para Badminton.
Oktila paired up with veteran Susanto to overcome a tough challenge from France’s second seed Lucas Mazur and Faustine Noel 23-21, 21-17 for the Sl3-SU5 mixed doubles title. On Saturday, Oktila had claimed the women’s doubles SL3-SU5 gold with Khalimatus Sadiyah.
“I’m very tired but really satisfied that I can win this match,” said Oktila after her match.
Indonesia's Leani Rarti Oktila (front) and Hary Susanto
“For the matches today, I didn’t have any time to prepare specifically for them because there was a victory ceremony (on Saturday evening) and I couldn’t really focus on preparing myself,” said the 30-year-old, who also has two Asian Para Games titles.
For Susanto, who is a three-time world champion in doubles events, it was his biggest dream to compete at the Paralympics and to “make a new history for my country”.
In the women's singles SL4, Oktila, however, had to settle for the silver going down to China’s Hefang Chang in thrilling three games 19-21, 21-17, 21-16. The gold for China meant Hefang avenged her women’s doubles loss to Oktila.
Double delight for China's Zimo
It was a double delight for China's 19-year-old Qu Zimo as he went on to clinch the men's doubles WH1-WH2 gold medal pairing with Jianpeng Mai, after Saturday’s WH1 men’s singles title.
The top Chinese pair defeated South Korea's Kim Jung Jung and Lee Dong Seop 21-10, 21-14.
France, India clinch a gold each
Top seeded from France, Lucas Mazur had started the final day with a brilliant come-from-behind win in a three-game thriller against India’s Suhas Yathiraj in the men’s singles SL4 final.
The in-form Mazur, who had lifted three titles each in two the Championships in the road to the Games, had to raise his game to overcome a spirited challenge from Yathiraj and win it 15-21, 21-17, 21-15 in 62 minutes.
Top-seeded Lucas Mazur (France) won the men's singles SL4 final
Apart from the silver, India claimed its second gold in Para Badminton when second seeded Krishna Nagar beat Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai in the men’s singles SH6 gold medal match.
Nagar, the Basel 2019 World Championships silver medallist, overcame a second game scare from Man Kai to win 21-17, 16-21, 21-17 and avenge his Worlds defeat to the two-time World Champion from Hong Kong.
“This is a dream come true. I want to thank my father, mother, uncle, auntie, God, my coaches,” said Nagar.
“This is the first time that badminton has been added to the Paralympics and I hope that India will keep winning and doing their best at upcoming Games.”