Daniel Bethell keeping focus on the Road to Tokyo (credit Badminton Photo)
Paralympics SL3 men's singles
Date: 8/27/2021 2:30 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

The European Championship finalists qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the SL3 men’s singles sport class.

England’s Daniel Bethell is in the form of his life and has his eyes firmly set on the SL3 men’s singles gold medal in Tokyo. His biggest rival, India’s Pramod Bhagat is arguably the only genuine threat to Paralympic success, as these two men can only record uncontentious defeats to each other since 2018.

The number two seed in a draw of six men, Bethell seemed unphased by his draw which places him in Group B with Ukun Rukaendi (INA) and Daisuke Fujihara (JPN). 

Ukraine’s Oleksander Chyrkov is still chasing an international win after a thunderous introduction to the sport back in 2018 in Rodez, when he beat many of Europe’s best to make it to the continental championship final. Chyrkov will face Bhagat and Indian teammate Manoj Sarkar in Group A.

Read: It is time for a Paralympics quiz!

We spoke with Bethell today as he prepares for the tournament of his lifetime

- It’s brilliant to be back in Japan, one of my favourite places to travel on tour. The staff at Keio where we have been based for a week now have been amazing and very accommodating. The Prep Camp here has felt like a normal week of training so we can’t ask for anything more. I can’t wait to get to the Village which will be very exciting.

- I’ve had great matches with both Ukun and Daisuke in the past, and don’t expect any different this time. I can’t wait to get going! Teammates and I are in the best shape we could be in and I’m feeling confident about the week ahead. My goal is Gold.

Head Coach reflects on SH6 men’s singles

With England’s Shephard and Coombs drawn into the same SH6 men’s singles group, we spoke with Team GB Head Coach Richard Morris about the relationship between the two men and what the buildup to the start of play now looks for the team. He had this to say

- they know in training that if they work together they are stronger than if they work individually. Whether that is in soft-technical or match-play sessions, they give each other feedback and so they’re the perfect pair to have together.

- In Keio at our Prep Camp they prepare together to be able to perform as individuals when The Games starts. We make the most of the fact they have each other to spar with, which is a great advantage here in Tokyo. They are competitive, but also very supportive of each other, he added

- I wouldn’t change a single thing about the preparations to this Games, they’re both in the best shape of their lives and owe a lot of that to each other. Going into this tournament where they play each other is no different to the many times they have done that before, and in some big finals and semi-finals, said Morris

- Ultimately the best person will win on the day, they’ll come back together as a team and I’m happy to sit back and watch them go head-to-head on the big stage. A very proud moment for me and us all as a team. We would prefer it to be for a gold medal of course, but if we do well and take top spots in the group, that dream can still be a reality!

For the full list of draws, click here

And for even more Paralympic content, 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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