Bartlomiej Mroz in flying form in Dubai (credit Badminton Photo)
Male medal contenders
Date: 8/31/2021 10:51 AM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

Just a day to go before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games gets underway, here are the male European ones-to-watch

Daniel Bethell – SL3 men’s singles

England’s world number two is unbeaten since September 2019. Despite being behind in the head-to-head meetings, Bethell crucially has the upper hand on biggest rival Pramod Bhagat (IND) after a two-game win when they last met, the test event for the Paralympic Games in Japan which was valued among the Race to Tokyo qualifying tournaments.

There are always fireworks when these two men come together, and it will take a huge upset to prevent either of these half-court singles specialists from making their way to the final.

Lucas Mazur – SL4 men’s singles and SL3-SU5 mixed doubles

Huge favourite for men’s singles gold, the Frenchman is a massive 1,800 ranking points ahead of Indian contenders Tarun and Suhas Yathiraj who will push him for gold. Odds on to make the final, the tall powerful figure of Mazur will be difficult to beat.

The left-hander is number two seed with partner Faustine Noel in the standing mixed doubles. The French pair will be buoyed from their most recent win in in Dubai this year, over arguably the most dominant force in Para badminton doubles history, Indonesians Hary Susanto and Leani Oktila.

Read: Polina Buhrova leads the way for Ukraine

Bartłomiej Mroz – SU5 men’s singles

Poland’s only qualifier in Para badminton has been searching for an international victory since 2018. This week in Tokyo Mroz will have a good chance at a medal if he can escape Group A, which includes Meril Loquette (FRA) and two of the world’s top three players from Indonesia Dheva Anrimusthi and Suryo Nugroho.

We spoke with Mroz to gather his thoughts on the Tokyo 2020 and his group. He had this to say

- I am ready for Tokyo 2020! I’m looking forward to the fight at this very special competition. Anything can happen at an event like this, right now I’m just thinking about how proud I am to represent my country here.

- The group is crazy, but I feel strong. I think I can fight anybody. It doesn’t matter if it’s Indonesia or France or Malaysia, I’m so excited and looking forward to play. I respect all my opponents and I always prepare to take all of them seriously, added Mroz

- it has been two very hard years qualifying to get here, so now I want to enjoy the experience both on and off the court.

Jack Shephard – SH6 men’s singles

Two-time SH6 men’s singles World Champion Shephard goes into Tokyo 2020 as the world number one and just a handful of points behind India’s Krishna Nagar in the Paralympic rankings.

Shephard’s has not failed to medal at any international tournament for four years, yet things will not necessarily go all his way this week in the Yoyogi Stadium. 

He is joined in Group A by third seed Chu Man Kai (HKG) who got the better of the Englishman when they last met in a thrilling three setter in Thailand, and by England teammate Krysten Coombs who has beaten Shephard in their last three meetings.

The Paralympic badminton schedule begins at 1100 (CEST time zone) Wednesday 01 September with SL3-SU5 mixed doubles and WH1 women’s singles. For a full list of matches, click here

We will feature the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic badminton event here and across our usual platforms over the next two weeks, look out for more in days to come

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