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Team GB's world number 1 Jack Shephard (Badminton Europe/Mark Phelan)
Shephard back on top
Date: 5/12/2019 9:42 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

Jack Shephard has spent more than a year as world number 1, yet he hasn’t won an international event for 8 months. Until now.



The pressure is huge in SS6 men’s singles. Four or five possible winners at every event, the standard at the top is that strong. Only 6 slots available in the Paralympics for them, and only one from each nation gets the invite.


Two countries dominate the top 4 slots in the world rankings currently, England and Hong Kong, yet the man leading the way in the Race to Tokyo is Indian. Making a guess at this stage as to who will go to the Games in Tokyo could not be harder to call.


Team GB’s Jack Shephard made a statement today, staking his claim on that potential place and taking his first title of 2019. His last International win was Japan, September last year in a weakened field, yet today he beat Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai in the Canadian final 16-21, 21-19, 21-17, reminding the world that he is number 1 for a reason.



Read: Labar and Tran win their first title



We caught up with Jack Shephard after that exciting win:


“What a tough first set, I haven’t played Tony in a while and had to work him out once again, his game style is unusual. He came out strong and made it difficult for me. Once I settled I began to use the whole court well and with a lot of variation.”


“I’m so happy with this result, it gives me great confidence in this Paralympic qualifying year and a win under the belt is a big step forwards. I’m chuffed with the win and already looking forward to getting home and back to training”




I’m feeling fitter, feeling stronger and I beat the best


Daniel Bethell (ENG) carried on this week’s great form with his first international win in over a year, beating Indonesian Ukun Rukaendi in today’s SL3 men’s singles final 21-14, 21-13 in 54 minutes. After the match, Bethell had this to say


“I’m really happy with the way I played today. I knew going in it was going to be a marathon. Ukun is the former world champion and everyone knows how good he is. I had to stay patient, it was always going to be a long game”


“I’m really happy to get this win, it felt like the right way to end this week after beating the world silver medallist, the world number 1 and then the world champion within 3 matches. A massive confidence boost for me. Bring on Ireland in 6 weeks’ time.




A repeat of the European Championships Final


Germany’s Valeska Knoblauch continues her impressive form here this week with another international win. This time, a repeat of the often epic European WH1 clash between the German and Swiss born Karin Suter-Erath.


Far from the 3rd game 28-26 result we saw back in Rodez, November 2018 at the European Champs, this time a comfortable 21-12, 21-6 performance for Knoblauch who takes her second international title in a row. We chatted with Valeska after the match:


“Karin is a great fighter, but today was easier than usual. I didn’t imagine it would go this well for me. I felt comfortable, right away in the first set, and then it was, as we say in Germany ‘selbstlaufer’.. sure fire success, and I could really put pressure on with my game”


“I am so happy that the work and effort I have put in since the European Championships have paid off. I’m just overwhelmed and happy!”




See repeats of this week’s matches on YouTube and find the results of all finals on tournament software here.

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