Huamark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok this morning (photo credit: Badminton Europe / Bobby Griffin)
IPC announcement whilst Para-Badminton prepares for Thailand
Date: 7/24/2018 5:14 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

The 2018 Thailand Para-Badminton International begins tomorrow and is likely to be the hottest tournament of the year.  

195 players from 23 countries feature this week in Bangkok, and without question this event gathers together the most elite players competing this year. In the meantime, all the talk this week surrounds the recent International Paralympic Committee announcement that cements the regulations for qualifying for the 2020 Games.

Long awaited news of these regulations came on Saturday morning, and they describe how athletes and teams qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in each of the 22 sports on the Programme, and provides players and coaches the conditions that allow participation in the signature event of the Paralympic Movement. 

The key feature of interest within Para-Badminton was how the BWF and the IPC were going to manage 14 classes (14 gold medal events), ensuring a fairly even split of men and women on display whilst maintaining only 90 ‘bed-spaces’ (participants) at the 2020 event. 

90 participants across 14 events is an average of 6.43 players per event. However men’s and mixed doubles events takes up 2 players, naturally 2 bed-spaces! Well, this announcement confirms that there will be 6 pairs entered in each of the 4 doubles classes, which uses 48 of the 90 spaces, leaving 42 places available across the 10 different men’s and women’s singles classes. 

Not only that, an NPC (each Country) can enter a maximum of 1 pair per event in doubles and mixed doubles. And of a maximum of 2 players per singles medal event, except in the case of SS6 men’s singles which is limited to 1 player per NPC per medal event. In addition, the host nation must have representation of 1 man and 1 women in the tournament, and each of the world’s continents must also have the same representation. 

Click here to see the full IPC 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games Qualification Regulations (page 36-42)

What does this mean for Badminton at the 2020 Paralympics?

Not all of the current International Para-Badminton events will feature at the 2020 Games. Whilst there is going to be a fairly even split of men and women on show, you will see that no SS6 women for example feature whatsoever, news we learned over 9 months ago. 

Like the able-bodied Olympics, it is not possible for one country to dominate gold, silver and bronze in any one medal event.  In fact only women in the standing classes may have a very slim chance of picking up triple-gold.

Players that feature in more than one medal event help increase bed-space elsewhere. It will be interesting to see if, and how, this plays a part in which participants make it to Tokyo. It appears singles players may need to adapt their game to ensure a good doubles ranking also which also sees them feature in both events. 

Countries may not be able to send their top players to compete. The SS6 class for example can enter a maximum of one men’s singles player, the current BWF rankings feature two Englishman and two players from Hong Kong China in the world top 6. 

Read : BREAKING: Lee Chong Wei withdraws from World Championships

A Player’s perspective

We asked England’s Krysten Coombs how the regulations will affect him in the coming months. The SS6 men’s singles star is here in Bangkok for the 2018 Thailand International where a final here will make it 6 out of the last 7 International finals over the past year or so, and his main rival, teammate and doubles partner has an even better track record

“…it means that only one of us from England will be able to go to the Paralympics, we have a good number of strong players and currently Jack and I are ranked number 1 and 2 in the world. Between Jack and I we are dominating the category at present and it is a real shame that one of us will not go. However, those are the rules that we must all abide by.

I’m going to need to fight even harder now. It means I’ve got one chance and this will be my best chance given my age of going to the Paralympics. I’ll just have to give it everything to make sure I have a seat on that plane.

I’d like to win the singles and the doubles in Thailand this week. I’m feeling good right now. Ireland was tough, I was just back from injury and not yet at my best. This year will not be as important as next year with Olympic qualifying but I’d love to have that winning feeling as we move through the next 6 months and the Europeans in November.”

For a full list of the Thailand Para-Badminton International draws and results this week click here

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