Development

Irish World Champion To Star In Para-Badminton International
Date: 5/27/2015 12:52 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler

Ireland’s Niall McVeigh will lead the home team’s quest for a medal at the inaugural Carlton Irish Para-Badminton International in Dublin next month.

McVeigh, the current European and World Champion, will carry the hopes of the home crowd as he joins some 140 paralympic athletes from 24 nations for the event, which will take place from June 24 – 28 in the Baldoyle Badminton Centre.

The Newry athlete however, will face stiff competition – with 44 entries in his division, the SS 6 class, for short stature players.

Para-badminton will make its Paralympics debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.  McVeigh will be in his late 20s then, and should still be at the peak of his powers.  “The Paralympics is one of the few tournaments I haven’t won within badminton,” he says.  “A win in Tokyo would really top it all off.”

McVeigh played multiple sports as a child, including swimming and athletics, but he caught the badminton bug at the age of seven, following in his dad’s footsteps.  “My dad would have been the only other person in the family to play badminton competitively.  He was my first coach.  I used to go along with him to his club and played for fun.  But the older I got I knew badminton was my true love in sport.”

He was just 17 when, in 2008, he won the European Championships.  Five years later, he was World Champion.
 
His preparations for the home international are, he says, well on track.  “I am very much looking forward to playing in front of my home crowd and my family.  It will be a great honour for me.”

McVeigh is a huge supporter of the Paralympic movement, and parasports generally.  “It is a great opportunity for all para athletes - an equal battlefield for all.  If you put your mind to it, it gives you the best possible chance to accomplish your dreams.”

Para-badminton players, both men and women, compete in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Players are classified into six different “classes” to ensure fairness in competition.

Players from Brazil, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Macau, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Surinam, Switzerland, Turkey and Wales are listed amongst the entries. Other Irish contenders include Emma Farnham, Andrew Moorcroft, Michael Smith, Chris Stewart and Laura Lee Jenkins.

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