General

Valeska Knoblauch and Bart Mroz, champions of Europe 2018 (photo credit Mark Phelan / Badminton Europe)
Mroz champion at last, as Valeska becomes world number 3
Date: 11/5/2018 1:17 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

Possibly the most exciting Finals Day in Para-Badminton history and so many great talking points. Leading the headlines are two equally impressive achievements by Bartlomiej Mroz and Valeska Knoblauch.



Polish SU5 men’s singles star Bartlomiej Mroz played a quality of badminton that we hadn’t seen before, in the European Championship Finals. The context of the story is perhaps even more exciting than the performance. Mroz has tried and failed 3 times before to become European Champion, and each time has been beaten by his opponent today Ilker Tuzcu (TUR).


The pair are friends, rivals and also a men’s doubles pair who won the previous European Championships, which they defended today against Mazur and Loquette of France in two thrilling games today. Mroz and Tuzcu have met in singles over 12 times and the Turk leads the head-to-head by a mile. Not even the huge Turkish support could prevent the Pol from taking control of an epic third game and win his first European singles title 21-15, 17-21, 21-13. Bart had this to say


“I’ve been trying for 8 years to win this title, and now it is my time! And next time we play, I can show him that this is not just a lucky win. I’ve been feeling good for weeks, I just believed that I will do it and I knew I would be the Champion.”



VIEW: photo gallery from finals day here



Knoblauch holds her nerve in 3 set marathon


When WH1 Valeska Knoblauch served for the match, on her 4th time of asking, into the crowd adjacent to her right at 25-24 in the third game, I was convinced she had lost her head and lost the women’s singles title. 


I was wrong and the 28 year old German regained her composure and battled to the end of the hour long half-court wheelchair final, against one of the most accomplished players in Europe, Switzerland’s Karin Suter-Erath to win 12-21, 21-19, 28-26. Our Instagram Takeover star now takes her place as world number 3 in the rankings, moving into Paralympic qualifying in 2019.


“I feel completely wasted. I don’t know what to say.. I’m overwhelmed! I was so nervous at the end. I thought I had lost it when I missed so many match points, my hands were shaking when I was trying to serve. My Coaches helped and I went back to the game plan and won. I can’t believe it. It feels amazing!”






Rooke and Wandschneider do the double


England’s Martin Rooke was back to his best today in the WH2 men’s singles final, beating Israeli’s Amir Levi, the world number 4, in 3 great games 21-18, 13-21, 21-17. His forth European men’s singles title in a row. He paired up with Thomas Wandschneider to lift the WH1-2 men’s doubles trophy with a 21-19, 21-16 win over Levi and French poster-boy David Toupe.


“We were physically stronger than them in the final, we knew if we kept grinding them down we would eventually get them” (Martin Rooke). In my singles, I think Amir was expected to win. He’s the top seed and I’ve been out of the game a lot with injury, but I felt great today and I knew in the second game that I had enough in me to do it!” 



Gold galore for Choong


World number 2 Rachel Choong won both SS6 singles and mixed doubles finals today in the Rodez Amphitheatre, to add to the women’s doubles round-robin win she had already obtained this week. Unseeded Isaak Dalglish (ENG) and Maria Bartusz (POL) put up a great fight this week in the mixed doubles, but the English pairing of Choong and Andrew Martin had enough control to take the title.


Choong beat teammate Rebecca Bedford in a tight second game in the singles final, and the pair were dominant all week in the women’s doubles. 



Mazur makes it 2 out of 3


Local hero Lucas Mazur is the defending triple champion after taking all 3 titles in Beek, 2016. Today he cruised to another international SL4 singles title, beating Sweden’s Rickard Nilsson 21-7, 21-9 and with Faustine Noel, eased to victory in the SL3-SU5 mixed doubles with a 21-19, 21-10 win over Germany’s Marcel Adam and Katrin Siebert.


In his last match as a men’s doubles player, Mazur and Meril Loquette took on Mroz and Tuzcu in the SU5 final. Unable to reach the same form they were in, in Asia the past two months the French pair fell 19-21, 23-25.



Super Shephard sails on


England’s Jack Shephard had to work very hard today to clinch the SS6 men’s singles title, after teammate Krysten Coombs came out all guns blazing in the final, taking the first game 17-21. Jack fought back well to take the next two 21-10, 21-12


“It was good to play the doubles final first. It gave Krysten and I a chance to get used to the new conditions as we were in the other arena all week.


I was able to take control late on in the match. He gave me time at the net which really helped and made it very hard for him to keep up”


The English pair also had their work cut out for them as teammates Isaak Dalglish and Andrew Martin took them to 3 games in the men’s doubles final too, with a 15-21, 21-10, 21-10 display.



For the full list of this year’s winners, see tournament software here with this link.

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