China’s Wang Ping ended the reign of Switzerland’s Karin Suter-Erath at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Para-Badminton World Championships 2015, which wrapped up on Sunday (13 September) in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain.
Ping beat the defending gold medallist 21-10 21-19 to advance to the women’s singles WH 1 finals, where she defeated South Korea’s Son Ok Cha 21-7 21-9 for the gold medal.
It was a memorable debut for China, who had entered two athletes for the first time.
Hosts Great Britain, as well as India and South Korea, also had a lot to celebrate.. Each country grabbed four golds in the 21 medal categories, with Great Britain’s Rachel Choong and South Korea’s Lee Sam Seop claiming three golds apiece.
Competing in SS 6 class, Choong secured the women’s doubles gold with Rebecca Bedford. Choong then retained her singles crown by beating her doubles partner 21-13 21-2, and then teamed up with Andrew Martin to inflict another loss on Bedford and Jack Shephard in the mixed doubles showdown (21-16 21-4).
“I had not realised I was the first English player to win three (golds) in the same Championships and that feels amazing,” Choong said. “I am going to be up on cloud nine for a good while. It means more also as it is in England. Only my mum was with me when I won [last year’s World Championships] in Germany, so having all my family here to see me become world champion again [Sunday] really has been the icing on the cake.”
Great Britain’s fourth gold came in men’s doubles SS 6, where Shephard, with the help of Krysten Coombs, turned the tables on Great Britain’s Martin and Isaak Dalglish for the 21-11 21-16 win. But Martin could not find success in the men’s singles finals, which went to Malaysia’s Didin Taresoh, 21-13 21-16.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Lee Sam Seop dominated the wheelchair competition. He remained the men’s singles WH 1 champion and also added the men’s doubles WH 1-WH 2 (combined classes) and mixed doubles WH 1-WH 2 titles to his resume.
In a repeat of the 2013 Para-Badminton World Championships final, Kim Jung Jun won the all-South Korean tussle versus Kim Kyung Hoon, 21-19 21-16, to retain his singles WH 2 title and secure his nation’s fourth gold medal.
India enjoyed golden runs in the men’s singles SL 3 and SL 4, with victories for Pramod Bhagat and Tarun Tarun, respectively.
Teaming up for the men’s doubles SL 3-SL 4 final, Tarun and Bhagat fell 7-21 21-14 21-6 to their teammates, Anand Kumar Boregowda and Manoj Sarkar. India also took gold in mixed doubles SL 3-SU 5, with Raj Kumar and Parul Dalsukhbhai Parmar getting the better of another Indian duo, Rakesh Pandey and Manasi Girishchandra Joshi – 21-10 21-19 in the final.
Malaysia took home three golds. Apart from Taresoh in men’s singles SS 6, Cheah Liek Hou contributed two with a repeat golden double. The SU 5 athlete retained his men’s singles and doubles titles, defeating Poland’s Bartlomiej Mroz (21-16 21-12). He returned with Hairol Fozi Saaba to defend the doubles gold which he won in 2013 with Suhaili Laiman. The Malaysians rebounded to squeeze past Mroz and Ilker Tuzcu, 18-21 21-13 21-16.
Thailand also got two golds through Amnouy Wetwithan in women’s singles WH 2 – upsetting defending champion Lee Sun Ae of South Korea (21-14 21-12). Wetwithan also teamed with Sujirat Pookkhum for the women’s doubles WH 1-WH 2; 21-8 21-14 win over South Korea’s Kang Jung Kum and Kim Yeon Sim.
Norway’s Helle Sofie Sagoy also returned home with two golds - the women’s singles SL 4 and women’s doubles SL 3-SU 5, where she partnered with Germany’s Katrin Seibert.
Denmark’s Julie Thrane won the women’s singles SU 5.
A total of 223 players from 37 countries competed in the biennial, four-day tournament. Complete results of the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships are available online.