The 2016 European Para-Badminton Championships reached the business end of the tournament today with the start of the knock out phase of matches as all athletes began to cast their thoughts towards potential medals.
The short stature 6 class men’s singles stole the show with a pair of men’s singles semi-finals that went the distance. English trio of Jack Shepard, Krysten Coombs & Andrew Martin along with Irishman Niall McVeigh offered up a feast of high energy, high level badminton that had the entire hall gasping.
McVeigh was in bounce back mode after a shock loss in the round robin group that saw him emerge from the group as runner up. As a result, the Irishman was forced to play top seed Andrew Martin in the first of the semi-finals while Coombs went head to head against his doubles partner Jack Shepard.
McVeigh lost the first game 21-15 and had to call on all his experience to come back to beat his doubles partner in three games to make the final.
“The group did not go according to plan but I just put that behind me today and happy now to be in the final” said McVeigh.
The Irishman’s opponent will be second seed Coombs after the English number 2 seed also came back from a set down against his own doubles partner Jack Shepard.
“We all know each other so well and there really is nothing more than who wants it most between any of use. It will be like that again in tomorrow’s final and one thing is for sure it will be a real battle against Niall as it always is” said Coombs to Badminton Europe.
To watch Coombs’ and McVeigh’s post match interview with Badminton Europe click HERE
Changing of the guard in women’s singles SU5
Reigning world champion, Julie Thrane was hot favourite coming into these European championships but with the arrival of fellow Danes Astrid Lilhav Riis (pictured above) and Catherine Rosengren there may just be a changing of the guard in the category.
Thrane came up against the calm Riis in today’s semi-final and left empty handed after her powerful compatriot left the world champions still chasing that elusive European gold medal.
In the other semi-final, Catherine Rosengren saw off the stiff opposition, at least in the opening game from Dutch number 1 Megan Hollander. Hollander had nothing left in the second game where Rosengren ran out an easy winner 21-16 21-6.
The final will be a repeat of the day one group match and if that result is anything to go by it is Rosengren who is favourite after winning that match. However, Riis has grown into this tournament and Rosengren will take nothing for granted in tomorrow’s final.
Wheelchair top guns’ power on through
In the wheel chair hall, all the top European players made little work of their quarter and semi-finals today. Karin Suter-Erath has barely had to get out of second gear this week and has made the final in the women’s singles wheelchair 1 category without dropping a set and more than 10 points in any one game.
The Swiss player will play number two seed Valeska Knoblauch in the final after the number two seed was pushed hard in three games against Nina Gorodedsky of Israel.
In the men’s singles wheelchair 1 category there is no looking beyond England’s Martin Rooke for gold as the Englishman looks head and shoulders above the rest of the field. A total of five matches played with 10 games won and only a total 33 points dropped across those 10 games gives an indication as to the dominance of the Englishman.
The Dutch home supports will hope their number 1 Jordy Brouwer Von Gonzenbach can push the Englishman in the final but it is a tall order for the Dutchman and anything other than an English gold will be a major shock.
For all the results from day 3 at European Para-Badminton Championships click HERE
For a photo gallery from today’s action click HERE
Article and Images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe