Niall McVeigh.
Day One at the Worlds and the pressure is already on the Europeans
Date: 11/22/2017 4:20 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin
As Day One of the BWF Para World Championships gets underway, Europe senses Asian domination in many events.

It comes as no surprise that the standard of play within Para-Badminton across all categories has improved since the last World Championships. However, the rate at which we see this improvement may surprise quite a few! It is clear from witnessing play on Day One in Ulsan, South Korea, that the recent commitment to Paralympics has provided a springboard to the quality of badminton displayed here and many Players and Coaches should feel immensely proud.

As the sport becomes more professional, we also start to see a shift towards Asian medal winners at International events much like the able-bodied game. 15 of the 21 gold medals at the recent Japan Para International were won by Asian competitors, around 70%. This paints a very different picture from my own first Para-Badminton International competition around 6 years ago in which just 36% of winners were from Asian countries.

So the fight is really on for Europeans now and supporting the charge led by our European Hopefuls (See Europe Goes For Gold, yesterday’s article link) were a few European players who really stood out on Day One of this World Championships.

Ireland’s Niall McVeigh got the crowd worked up this afternoon with his 21-16, 17-21, 22-20 victory over Chu Man Kai from Hong Kong in the SS6 Mens Singles, and had this to say..

- The SS6 standard has massively improved! There are now a wide range of players with a chance of winning the title. Years ago you’d expect the winner to come from one of the 2 favourites, so that’s great to see for our sport. 

When asked about the match, and his preparations this week..

- I had a good start, controlled things well, I felt relaxed! I arrived 5 days ago and had two days practicing in the arena so I’ve become used to the drift by now and that really helped me. He (Chu) hit a lot out when the pressure told, late in the 3rd. I believe I can win it, that’s why I’m here!

Colin Leslie (Sco) & Astrid Lilhav Riis (Den) were on fine form all day today in the SL3-SU5 Mixed Doubles to progress to the knock-out stages. Straight Games wins over strong Thai and Japanese opposition sees them as surprise Group H leaders to delight these Underdogs. Lilhav Riis had this to say..

- I was excited and nervous to be playing in this large venue which I’m not used to, and delighted to be playing so well. The level of competition is so high that it gave me more motivation to do well, and so I’m even more proud to have done so.

Other great European performances on Day One include Valeska Knoblauch & Mi Young Chin (Ger) in the WH1-2 Mixed Doubles to top Group E. David Toupe & Emmanuelle Ott (Fra) to progress to knock-out stages also in the WH1-2 Mixed Doubles. Marcel Adam & Katrin Seibert in SL4 also had a great start to the tournament in Singles and also together in Standing Mixed Doubles.

See all of the results of Day 1 here 

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