Photo: Badmintonphoto
Krysten Coombs: Plans have been put on hold
Date: 4/21/2020 1:59 PM
Published by : BEC Staff

Krysten Coombs, 2018 European Para Badminton Championships silver medallist for England, shares his reaction to the change in schedule towards the Paralympics. 

Coombs became involved in the sport through the Dwarf Sports Association UK and then embarked on a successful professional career. Not only is he a world-class athlete, but he is also an aspiring actor, having featured in an episode of Game of Thrones in 2014. 

Being one of Europe’s top players, previously winning double gold (singles and doubles) at the European Para Badminton Championships in 2016, Coombs was coming into the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to fight for a Team GB medal. However, as we all know, the games have been postponed until next year because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. British Paralympics Association chief executive Mike Sharrock said

- We welcome the clarity this now gives Paralympic athletes throughout the world who have had their training and qualification plans severely disrupted.

Coombs explains how this development has affected him.

- To be honest, it hasn’t really affected me all that much. Not a lot has changed for me other than the timeline because I don’t find out if I’ve qualified for the 2020 Paralympics until June this year. So, I haven’t had many concrete plans around actually going to the Games (though of course, I’m hopeful), but it hasn’t been a certainty for me like it has for others. What is hard to say now though, with another year in the mix, is what’s going to happen about our qualifying tournaments – some were cancelled so we don’t know if they’ll be rescheduled or not and what that means for qualifying points. The only real plans I had were for the year after the games as we’ve been training full-time for the past three years, so they will be put on hold until we know what the situation looks like more clearly. Things are a little more up in the air I suppose, but as I say, my plans were never absolute, so it’s not had quite the effect on me that it has on others. It’s all been handled as well as anyone can given the circumstances, so I’m grateful for that.

Read: Astrup: We will be hungrier than ever when we get back

What the future brings 

As Coombs said, he is keeping very positive about the situation and playing most of the planning by ear. In the immediate future, not being able to train in the same way calls for innovative solutions. 

- To start a new preparation year leading up to the rescheduled games next year is obviously affected at the moment by COVID-19, which sees us keeping up with training at home and finding creative ways to be together as a team. All we can do now is keep at it until we know exactly when this situation will change and what’s happening with the build-up to the Paralympics.

Lastly, Coombs has won a lot in the game during his career. Has there been time to even think about retirement plans? 

- I have had thoughts about it. I’ve been playing a long time now and am thinking about the next stages of my life. Everything’s been about the lead up to the Games, so I thought I’d see how I feel after they’re over. Now that they’ve been rescheduled, I guess I’ll come back to thinking about it after that. It would be a dream to keep playing and chase another Paralympics or two. We’ll see what the future brings.

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