Connect with us


Bethell takes gold at the Spanish Para Badminton International Sport-rated




February 27, 2023

Daniel Bethell made the perfect return to the court by taking the men’s singles SL3 gold at the Spanish Para Badminton International in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Bethell was playing for the first time since August last year at the Thailand International but never seemed to have been out with an assured set of ever-improving performances ending in a 21-8, 21-8 win over Paralympic champion Pramod Bhagat.

Bhagat edged out Bethell in Tokyo in 2021, but this time the Huntingdon Ferry won handily, having defeated Kumar Nitesh 17-21 21-17 21-17 in the semi-finals.

Bethell knocked out Mathieu Thomas, who beat England’s William Smith in the round of 16, before taking on 2022 world silver medalist Nitesh, who provided a tough test that the 27-year-old negotiated before pulling off the win against Bhagat for exceed expectations on his return. .

“I don’t think the expectation was to win it, the expectation was to come back and perform,” head coach Richard Morris revealed.

“We weren’t 100% sure where that level would be, but we knew we were capable of getting back to world class in a very short period of time.

“He settled into the draw very comfortably and as the games went on he became more and more comfortable with his ability. He did his best in the end, which is what you want.

“Coming back and winning was a big statement on his part. Beating the Paralympic champion in singles figures in the second set was a real statement to say that he is back and looking as strong as ever.”

Bethell was not the only success in northern Spain, with Krysten Coombs taking bronze in the SH6 men’s singles event.

Coombs beat compatriot Isaak Dalglish before beating Vitor Goncalves Tavares, the same player he beat for Paralympic bronze in Tokyo, with a 21-13, 21-8 win only to lose to Thailand’s Nattapong Meechai 21-19 , 21-17 in the last four.

“It was probably the most professional and convincing performance I’ve ever seen from Krysten in a competitive match,” Morris reflected of Coombs’ victory over Goncalves Tavares.

“He was incredible, he showed a very good level. He struggled to find the same level in the semi-final, but it brought him big ranking points.”

There was also bronze for Jack Shephard and Rachel Choong, who claimed a podium finish in the SH6 mixed doubles, beating American duo Miles Krajewski and Jayci Simon 21-13 21-10 before losing 21-11 21-17 to Subhan and Subhan of Qatar. Rina Marlina.

And it was also the semifinal defeat of Anya Butterworth and Rosa Luisa Velásquez Turín in the SH6 women’s doubles, as they lost 21-6, 21-8 to Peruvians Rubi Milagros Fernandez Vargas and Nithya Sre Sumathy Sivan.

It scores vital ranking points for couples, making preparations for Paris that much easier according to Morris.

He said: “It just makes our lives so much easier in the long run. We will be in a position where we can have big solid training blocks instead of having to be on the road chasing ranking points.

“We can really develop and work in areas instead of spending days and weeks on planes and trains to get the points we need.

“We’ve really developed over the last 15, 16 weeks of training, and that shows that it’s really positive.”

Bronze for Shephard and Choong was a welcome consolation, as both players lost their singles matches at the quarterfinal stage. Shephard lost 21-13 21-19 to Meechai while Choong lost a thriller 18-21 26-24 21-16 to Simon.

The quarterfinal stage was also the last hurdle for Gobi Ranganathan in the WH2 men’s singles as he fell to Germany’s Rick Cornell Hellmann 21-8 21-14.

WH1-2 men’s pair David Follett and Lars Porrenga also came out in the last eight, falling to French pair Thomas Jakobs and David Toupe 21-6 21-7.

Follett was also in mixed doubles action with Heidi Manninen but exited in the group stage, while Follett also fell in the group stage in WH1 men’s singles action despite a 21-14 21-18 win over Lochan Cowper. from Australia.

There were also group stage exits for Owen Kilburn and Sharon Jones-Barnes, and Sean O’Sullivan and Campbell Plant in their mixed doubles events, while Kilburn, O’Sullivan, Plant, Butterworth and Robert Donald failed to make it out. the group at their individual events.

In the women’s doubles, Jones-Barnes and Manninen and Plant and Sophie van den Broek started in the groups while in the men it was the same stage start for the couples Kilburn and Ranganathan and O’Sullivan and Donald.