India’s Krishna Nagar pulled off a stunning set of upsets to claim double gold at the Fazza Para Badminton International Championships which finished on Sunday in Dubai, UAE. The Asian Para Games bronze medallist beat the world’s top two SS 6 players on his way to the men’s singles title, before claiming the mixed doubles crown alongside Raja Magotra.
A day after upsetting world No. 1 Jack Shephard of England in the singles SS 6 semi-finals, Nagar pulled off the second upset in as many days when he defeated Shephard’s compatriot – and world no. 2 - Krysten Coombs 20-22, 25-23, 21-12 in the most exciting final of the day, lasting more than an hour.
"Yes, this is the biggest win of my career," an elated Nagar said afterwards.
“This has been also the best tournament for me. This is big motivation in this important year and going ahead on the road to Tokyo 2020,” said the left-handed player, who only started playing the sport in 2018 before winning his first medal at the Thailand International last July.
India had a good run at the event finishing with nine medals including four golds on Sunday. Among others, world No. 1s Pramod Bhagat and Parul Parmer took the gold in the SL 3 men’s and women’s singles.
China on top
It was the badminton powerhouse China who emerged as the best team, winning 19 medals including six golds. Fazza saw the second largest competition field in the history of Para badminton, with as many as 270 players from 37 nations taking part.
Zimao wins two gold
After winning triple gold at last month’s Turkish International, China’s Qu Zimao shone again in Dubai. He finished with two gold medals, this time in the men’s singles WH 1 and mixed doubles WH 1-WH 2 along with Liu Yutong.
Zimao was in fact lucky to survive a first game scare against Choi Jung Man of Korea in men’s singles WH 1 final. Trailing 7-18, Choi took 11 points in a row playing long rallies to make it 18-all, but fell short in the end. He eventually lost 19-21, 21-14 after fighting for 35 minutes. “It was an exciting match. I am happy I won,” said Zimao heaving a sigh of relief.
“I want to win every match in the race to World Championships and Tokyo 2020,” he added.
Yutong also made it twin gold when she outplayed compatriot Li Hongyan 21-5, 21-10 in the WH 2 gold medal match. Fifth seed Zhang Jing started the gold rush for the East Asian nation beating fellow Chinese Yin Menglu 21-13, 21-13 in the women’s singles WH 1, before Yang Qiuxia needed just 26 minutes to beat Japanese top seed Ayako Suzuki in straight games 21-18, 21-13 in SU 5 title clash.
The result of the women’s singles SL 4 final was a repeat of the 2017 World Championship and 2018 Asian Para Games finals, with Chinese Cheng Hefang succeeding once again over Indonesia’s Leani Ratri Oktila 21-15, 21-15. Ratri Oktila was “sad” to not making it three golds, and said her opponent had “better strokes” with the drop shots being her lethal weapon.
Indonesia doubles pairs shine
Known for their unique style of play, the Indonesian doubles players continued their good run of form to win four golds. Top seeds Hary Susanto and Leani Ratri Oktila were the first to open their account with a 21-19, 21-15 win over France’s Lucas Mazur and Faustine Noel.
In contrast, Ratri Oktila and her partner Khalimatus Sadiyah Sukohandoko had to battle past a strong challenge from China’s second seed Cheng Hefang and Ma Huihui to win the women’s doubles SL 3-SL 4 final by 8-21, 21-12, 21-16 scoreline.
Indonesia 2018 winner Dheva Anrimusthi also picked up two gold medals, with his 21-19, 18-21, 21-16 win over lone Malaysian finalist Liek Hou Cheah bringing the only singles medal in the Indonesian team. He also combined with Suryo Nugroho to take the men’s doubles SU 5 title, while top seeds Dwiyoko Dwiyoko and Fredy Setiawan lived up to their billing and won men’s doubles SL 3-SU 5 title.