Daniel Bethell at the Canadian International earlier this year (credit Badminton Photo)
Bethell is back and aims for a medal
Date: 9/26/2019 10:37 AM
Published by : Bobby Griffin

Daniel Bethell withdrew from the Thailand International last week, but has bounced back well here in China and is aiming to top the podium.

England’s Daniel Bethell suffers from Cerebral Palsy. The limbs on his right side are stiff and weaker than his dominant left and is the reason he qualifies to play Para badminton in the SL3 category.

He has managed a troublesome right foot for the past two years, and knows only too well when things do not feel right. He felt some pain after a quarterfinal win in Thailand last week and withdrew as a precautionary measure to rest, and ensure the best opportunity to play in China this week.

With straight games wins in Group B, over Chen Xiaoyu (CHN) and Manoj Sarkar (IND) who are two of the top ten players in the world, 23-year-old Bethell clearly made a wise decision last week. 

We see a smaller entry in Hangzhou, compared to most international events, and a real concentration of the world’s best. Going through as group winner, Bethell is due to play India’s Vikram Kumar in the quarterfinal tomorrow. 

If things go by plan, we will hope to witness another titanic clash between Bethell and world number one Pramod Bhagat (IND) in the final on Sunday.

Read: Marin’s win in China Open – one of the greatest comebacks ever

‘Anything can happen’

We spoke with Daniel Bethell shortly after his match today, he had this to say:

- It was a really tough group, both of them have been medallists at World Championships before. You could argue either match could have decided a medal at most tournaments. There are tough draws across the whole tournament in many events.

- I’m really pleased with my performances so far, I’ve been solid. My game plan has worked in both and I’m happy about that. I had to pull out of the semifinal in Thailand last week, so I was nervous about that injury coming into this tournament, but I feel strong, I feel fine, said Bethell.

- I’ve got Vikram in the quarters, he’s number six in the "Race to Tokyo" rankings I think. I’ve had good results against him before, but when the draws are this tight and the standard is improving all the time, anything can happen in the knockout stage, he added.

- It was a shame to pull out last week, but we felt it was for the best and I still managed a bronze. It is more points towards the Paralympic qualification, so I can’t complain. I need to make sure I’m sharp going into each round now, and I can look forward to the rest of the knockout stage here, he told us.

- So far this year I have made it to the semifinals at every event. I have one title, and three finals behind me now, it puts me second in the "Race to Tokyo" and I feel I’m improving all the time. But I can’t rest yet, I have to keep going and keep getting my head down as anything can happen in sport!

Follow the China Para-Badminton International 2019 on tournament software here.

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