The top seeds at the Para Badminton World Championships are showing their strength in South Korea, with several players securing their passage to the knockout stages of with a group game to spare. Day two of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Worlds wrapped up on Thursday (23 November) in Ulsan, South Korea.
Great Britain’s Krysten Coombs survived an inspired challenge from India’s Raja Magotra to book his place in the men’s singles SS 6 quarter-finals. Coombs took the match 21-16 18-21 21-19 and heads in to the elimination round as the top player from Group A.
“I struggled to get into the game due to the drift,” said Coombs. “I was trailing by five or six points and caught up at 18. He’s a new opponent, never seen him before, and that made it difficult. He doesn’t play the SS 6 game, he’s a bit taller, has bigger reach.”
Malaysia’s defending champion Didin Taresoh topped Group B with his second straight win, over Thailand’s Bunthan Yaemmali 21-15 11-21 21-13. Great Britain’s Jack Shephard and Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Yim, the 3-4 seeds, also made it to the knockout stage with straight-games victories.
The longest match on Thursday was seen in the men’s singles SL 3 Group D, as Indonesia’s Ukun Rukaendi got the better of Japanese third seed Daisuke Fujihara 21-18 21-15. With each contestant testing the other in interminable rallies, Rukaendi attempted a few variations and stayed alert for the counters. Rukaendi’s 21-18 21-15 victory helped him qualify for the knockout stage as the top-ranked player from the group.
“I have beaten him thrice before, so I knew his style,” said Rukaendi. “This is my first World Championships – I’m proud and it’s like a dream come true. I started playing badminton when I was 17, it’s nearly 20 years now. I want to get the gold medal.”
China had a great day on Thursday with a number of victories. Among the most significant was the upset of men’s single SU 5 third seed Ilker Tuzcu from Turkey at the hands of compatriot He Zhirui, 22-20 21-15. Qu Zhimo upset France’s third seed David Toupe in the men’s WH 1; Liu Yutong beat France’s Emmanuelle Ott in the women’s singles WH 2.
Switzerland’s top seed Karin Suter-Erath won her second group match in straight games, beating Austria’s Henriett Koosz 21-7 21-13, to lead the women’s single WH 1 in Group A.
Competition continues Friday (24 November). Complete results can be found on the BWF’s website