The beautiful city of Rodez in the evening light (Photo credit Bobby Griffin)
Badminton heats up, as temperatures freeze in Rodez
Date: 10/30/2018 11:10 AM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

The 2018 European Para-Badminton Championships begin tomorrow and the Continent’s strongest players have gathered over the past 48 hours in freezing temperatures around Rodez.

The South of France hosts the European Championships this week in difficult conditions. The hosts have been fighting the cold snap that hit the region on Monday morning, causing disruption to many players reaching the city of Rodez in the past day or so and delaying the set-up of the event as organisers struggle to manage the icy roads and entrances to the Rodez Amphitheatre Gymnasium.

With the unusual October weather forecast to be severe for only for 48 hours, we expect the start on Wednesday to go without a hitch in the biggest European Championships yet, with 156 entries from 26 different nations making the trip across Europe to be here.  A striking difference to the 2014 Euros in Murcia, Spain held in September when temperatures soared to 38 degrees, and 36 degrees inside the non-air-conditioned venue. 

As the standards improve across Para-Badminton events moving towards 2019 Paralympic qualification period, so do the expectations on provisions and services. The main similarity this year to the 2016 Euros in Beek is the divide between arenas for Standing players and Wheelchair players. 

Whilst the split of halls allows the run of play to run smoothly and allows for more space, it is also more costly and like the previous Championships in Beek may also create a lack of atmosphere for the participants and supporters. 

Read : "it will be tough because the competition is tough" (Mads Conrad-Petersen)

Likely contenders for European glory

A handful of our European best will be looking to take home a clutch of medals this year and have the honour of calling themselves multiple Champion. Some of those include;

Karin Suter-Erath(SUI) WH1 took home the gold in women’s singles, mixed doubles gold with Martin Rooke (ENG) and doubles gold with Emine Seckin (TUR) at the 2016 Champs. New doubles partners and Germany’s Valeska Knoblauch hot on her heels may make life difficult this year.

Rooke will be looking to make it a double with retention of his WH2 men’s singles title if Israel’s Amir Levi isn’t able to stop him, and if he is also able to take the men’s doubles gold with Thomas Wandschneider (GER). Standing in their way might be WH1 David Toupe (FRA) who not only took 3 silvers at the 2016 Euros, but is partnered with Levi in the doubles. Toupe vs Wandschneider will be another great rivalry to watch in the WH1 class.

Lucas Mazur (FRA) is clear favourite again in the SL4 men’s singles. He and SL3-SU5 mixed doubles partner Faustine Noel will be trying to make the European Championships their first International win of the year. Also this year he has stepped up to play in the SU5 men’s doubles category with Meril Loquette, aiming for triple gold if Mazur can achieve all 3 titles.

In the hunt for that mixed title will be is Catherine Rosengren (DEN) who is also favourite for the SU5 women’s singles title, and Germany’s Marcel Adam and Katrin Siebert who beat Mazur and Noel in Japan last month.

England’s Rachel Choong will be a strong contender for SS6 gold medals. The triple World Champion should find things comfortable enough to defend all 3 of her European gold medals with Andrew Martin and Rebecca Bedford as partners.

In the men’s SS6, world ranked 1 and 2 Jack Shephard and Krysten Coombs on paper at least should meet in yet another men’s singles final. Shephard the World Champion and Coombs looking to defend his European title, the England teammates will also start as favourites in the men’s doubles.

For draws, matches and last year’s winners, please see tournament software here with this link.

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