Preview: The Brits at the Para Badminton World Championships

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Preview: The Brits at the Para Badminton World Championships

A bumper contingent of British para badminton players will open their World Championship campaign in Korea this week – with an added incentive set to make things that little bit more special.

The sport will make its Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020, where players will compete across 14 medal events.

Victory in Korea this week would see players crowned world champion, a title that would remain theirs until 2019 – when Paralympic qualification begins.

So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about para badminton.

History

Para badminton has been contested internationally since the 1990s, with the first World Championships taking place in 1998 in the Netherlands.

The last edition of the Championships, in 2015, took place in Stoke Mandeville, England, where 13 medals were won by British players – four of which were gold.

Among them was Krysten Coombs, who won men’s doubles gold as well as men’s singles bronze, while Rachel Choong won gold across the women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

What are the rules?

Para badminton players compete in men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Players are classified into ‘sport classes’, of which there are six.

Wheelchair 1 (WH1) players require a wheelchair to play, and usually have impairment in both lower limbs and trunk function, whereas wheelchair 2 (WH2) players could have impairment in one or both lower limbs, and minimal or no impairment of the trunk.

Standing lower (SL3) athletes must play standing, but could have impairment in one of both lower limbs and have poor walking or running balance. The second standing lower class (SL4) has a lesser impairment than those in the SL4 class.

Standing upper (SU5) players have impairment of the upper limbs, while in the final class – short stature (SS6) – players have a short stature due to a genetic condition, often referred to as ‘dwarfism’.

At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, male players will compete across all six classes, as well as wheelchair doubles. Women will play in the WH1, WH2, SL4, SU5, WH doubles and SL/SU doubles, while the SL/SU mixed doubles will also be a medal event.

The schedule

The Para Badminton World Championships will get underway in Ulsan, Korea, on Wednesday, with the 2017 world champions set to be decided on Sunday.

Players will first engage in a round robin format, before progressing to the elimination rounds.

The squad

Rebecca Bedford (England)

SS6 women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles

Rachel Choong (England)

SS6 women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles

Krysten Coombs (England)

SS6 men’s singles and doubles

Paul Doling (England)

SS6 men’s and mixed doubles

David Follett (England)

WH1 men’s singles, WH1-2 men’s and mixed doubles

Antony Forster (England)

SL4 men’s singles, SL3-4 men’s doubles, SL3-SU5 mixed doubles

Bobby Griffin (England)

SL4 men’s singles, SU5 men’s doubles

Sharon Jones-Barnes (England)

WH2 women’s singles, WH1-2 women’s and mixed doubles

Owen Kilburn (England)

WH1 men’s singles, WH1-2 men’s and mixed doubles

Andrew Martin (England)

SS6 men’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles

Gobi Ranganathan (England)

WH2 men’s singles, WH1-2 men’s and mixed doubles

Jack Shephard (England)

SS6 men’s singles and doubles

Mark Waller (England)

SL3 men’s singles and SL3-4 men’s doubles

Fiona Christie (Scotland)

WH2 women’s singles, WH1-2 women’s and mixed doubles

Colin Leslie (Scotland)

SL3 men’s singles, SL3-4 men’s doubles and SL3-SU5 mixed doubles

Deidre Nagle (Scotland)

SS6 women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles

Alan Oliver (Scotland)

SL3 men’s singles, SL3-4 men’s doubles and SL3-SU5 mixed doubles

Mary Wilson (Scotland)

SL4 women’s singles, SL3-SU5 women’s and mixed doubles

In their words

“The inclusion of badminton at the Tokyo Paralympics gave me direction, there’s something to go for now,” said Coombs, world number one in SS6 singles and doubles.

“It’s good being able to go to World and European Championships but to be able to go to the Paralympics is the biggest and most amazing thing you can do.

“Coming back from Korea with two golds would be awesome, it’s what I’ve wanted this year and it would be perfect to build up to Tokyo. It would be my first world gold in the singles.

“To know that I’m the world champion up until 2019 would be amazing because that will be the next World Championships and it’s when qualifying for the Paralympics will start.”

How to follow

There will be live coverage of all the British players on the ParalympicsGB Twitter account as well as a daily round-up of all the action.

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