Lucas Mazur claiming his World Title in Ulsan
Mazur and Choong reign supreme in Ulsan
Date: 11/27/2017 10:39 AM
Published by : Bobby Griffin
Lucas Mazur wins men’s singles gold in SL4 at the Para World Championships, whilst Rachel Choong does the double-triple in women’s SS6!

Whilst England still manage to largely dominate the SS6 (short-stature) category in para-badminton with representation in all 5 finals, no other European player was featured on Finals Day in Ulsan, South Korea at the 2017 BWF Para-Badminton World Championships outside of SS6… except Monsieur Lucas Mazur.

With mounting pressure from Asian players in all categories over the past year, and with the recent announcement that para-badminton is now officially a Paralympic sport, the standard of play has improved across the board and this World Championships was evidence of that. With that in mind, Europe should take great pride in the achievement here of Lucas Mazur, the 20yr old Frenchman who was in emphatic form from the very start of the tournament and in fact the past 12 months.

Marking his 4th international gold medal of 2017, undoubtedly the most important of his career to date, Mazur remarks

- ..this title is also for Europe, not just for me!

It was a repeat of the 2015 World Championships final, facing India’s Tarun Tarun once again, who got the better of Mazur in an epic 3 games match in Stoke Mandeville, England 2 years ago. A very different Mazur walked onto court here today, both mentally and physically, beating the Indian in straight games 21-18, 21-10 and is beginning to show all the markings of a Paralympic Champion. Lucas Mazur shared....

- I’m very proud and so happy with my singles this week. I felt strong mentally, and strong on the court too. I haven’t dropped a game all week! All of my hard work for 2 years has paid off. I train every day, I have thought about being World Champion every day! My mother and father are here today and they’re so proud of me too.

When asked what is next for the SL4 Champion and about the 2020 Paralympics, Mazur added....

- I can’t think too far ahead. Yes 2020 is in my head, but right now I’m going to take one month holiday! Then it’s time to prepare and concentrate on next year, for Spain and then for Dubai and the other tournaments.

- It has been a real pleasure to be in Korea. It was a good tournament, serious and professionally organized. Line judges, warm up areas, the shuttle bus transports were great, the arena looks fantastic. It is what we need now in this sport.

Whilst there were no other Europeans in the Standing and Wheelchair classes on Finals Day, the SS6 category featured players from England in all 5 finals, another Frenchman in the SS6 mixed doubles final, Ireland and Poland coming together to pair in the women’s doubles too. Leading the charge for England, as always, was Rachel Choong the triple World Champion from 2015. Making history for a second time, Choong took all 3 titles here in Ulsan to become a double-triple-world champion, a landmark achievement!

Mixed doubles final was up first, with her partner Andrew Martin. They overcame Rebecca Bedford (ENG) & Fabien Morat (FRA) 21-9, 21-6.  Choong expressed...

- It was some of the best mixed doubles we have ever played. We felt we dominated, particularly in the second game.

Choong went onto face Peru’s Carmen Giuliana Poveda Flores in the women’s singles final, a young player who is getting better with every tournament. On her 21-15, 21-7 win.

- I started nervous! I was really apprehensive after watching Carmen beat Rebecca (Bedford) yesterday in the semis. But I had confidence that I was playing well and managed to relax into the 2nd game to finish well.

Partnering Rebecca Bedford in the women’s doubles an hour later to beat Maria Bartusz (POL) and Emma Farnham (IRE) in a 21-5, 21-8 win.

- We knew what we had to do. We were clinical. Rebecca played really well, bouncing back after that defeat in the singles yesterday.

- I’m over the moon! The double-triple… it feels unreal. I am genuinely struggling to put that into words.

England’s SS6 men’s doubles top pair Jack Shephard and Krysten Coombs had to settle for silver with a 19-21, 21-16, 16-21 defeat to Chu Man Kai and Wong Chun Yim of Hong Kong. The silver-lining however was that they would face each other in the men’s singles final shortly later. The crowd were treated to another incredible match where Coombs dominated the opening game 21-10, but then fell in game 2 19-21after some incredible rallies between these two.

The final game to decide the title was nothing short of spectacular, Coombs with a 19-16 lead allowed Shephard back into the match who took full advantage and came through 21-23 to take gold.

In summary, it was an incredible Para World Championships. The organisation was first class, following a recent Japan International has set a very high standard. Whilst the standard of badminton continues to improve, the spread of world medals continues to get wider. Europe this time come away with 5 gold medals, 4 silver and 8 bronze from 22 events. The next Para World Championships is set for Switzerland in Basel (2019) which will have a very tough act to follow!

For the list of winners, click here.

For photos from the Championships, click here.

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