Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Paralympic stars highlight strong competition level as Paris 2024 qualification deadline looms

2023 has been a roller-coaster year for India’s Para shuttler Krishna Nagar. From the lows of injury and early exits in tournaments to gold medal shows in BWF Level-1 events and the silver in the Asian Para Games, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion admitted that the year was about testing oneself in rough times and overcoming it with hard work and determination.

“After a few rough months with injury and almost no training, I regained my rhythm in Thailand in May 2023. The second half of the year was much better with more focus, training, and determination. I am looking to finish the year on a high in Dubai,” said Nagar after winning his men’s singles SH6 Group B game against Indonesia’s Subhan Subhan at the ongoing 5th Fazza Dubai Para Badminton International 2023.

“The silver in Asian Para Games was a big confidence booster,” added the 24-year-old who also won gold medals in Canada and England this year.

The Jaipur-based shuttler also highlighted that the competition in SH6 category has been very strong with the top 10 world ranked players unleashing variety and variations in their game.

“One must give his best in every game – you cannot take any game easy. The level of the competition is very high in every championship,” he added.

Nagar also singled out Hong Kong’s top seed Chu Man Kai as the toughest player in the men’s singles SH 6 event. “He has been one player who is difficult to beat. He (Man Kai) relies on his rallies, so one must be very patient.”

The Indian shuttler is hoping to defend his title in Paris. “I hope to play good competition, play long rallies, and try not to make mistakes.”

Much like Nagar, England’s third seed Jack Shephard wants to ride on his two gold medals at the European Championships to finish the year on a high.

“It has been a good year and I have the two European Championships which is a big motivation to work even harder. It’s ongoing work to keep improving. I am aiming for two gold medals at the Paris 2024 Paralympics,” said Shephard who overcame China’s Lin Naili 21-19, 14-21, 21-15 in men’s singles SH6 Round 2 Group C game.

The round robin matches in the 5th Fazza Dubai Para Badminton International 2023 continues on Wednesday with the knock-out matches beginning on Thursday.

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