The beginning of the year also marked the start of the qualification period for badminton at the Tokyo 2020 Games, where the sport will make its Paralympic debut.
The 2019 calendar is packed with events where athletes can gain points towards the Paralympic ranking list that eventually translate into Paralympic qualification slots for their countries.
The first world ranking event is scheduled from 25-30 March in Antalya, Turkey. Four more competitions then follow (in Dubai, UAE; Kampala, Uganda; Ottawa, Canada; and Dublin, Ireland) before August’s World Championships in Basel, Switzerland, where the world ranking points will be even higher.
Athletes can continue earning ranking points at five more major international competitions to take place in Bangkok, Thailand; Beijing, China; Odense, Denmark; and Ballarat, Australia. September’s competition in Tokyo, Japan, will double as the Paralympics’ Test Event and give athletes a chance to experience the venue where history will be made.
Last October’s Asian Para Games set up many athletes for positive outlooks into 2019. India’s Pramod Bhagat’s gold medal helped him finish 2018 atop the men’s SL 3 world ranking, making him a strong winning candidate in Basel. His compatriot Tarun Tarun also secured an Asian Para Games victory that kept him in the top-five of the men’s SL 4.
Last year also saw the European Championships, where home favourite Lucas Mazur captured the SL 4 title to remain at the No. 1 spot. Germany’s Valeska Knoblauch secured the women’s singles WH 1 title to wrap up a successful season and bump her to No. 2 in the category, closing in on Thailand’s Sujirat Pookkham.
Peru’s Carmen Giuliana Poveda Flores sits atop the women’s singles SS 6 after winning her home Parapan American Championships last year.