For the very first time, Para Badminton competitions at an Asian Para Games will be contested by Paralympic and World medallists. Thus, it is going to be one of the highlights of Hangzhou 2022.
A total of 172 athletes from 25 countries will vie for 22 medals over seven days of competition at the Binjiang Gymnasium. Para shuttlers will be divided into six groups (two wheelchair groups and four standing groups) at the event.
Host nation China will be all out in confidence with their five Paralympic champions, that include multiple medallist Qu Zimo (WH1), Cheng Hefang (SL4) and Liu Yutong (WH2), in their ranks.
Since the Paralympics, the Chinese shuttlers haven’t competed much – they have skipped the BWF Para Badminton World Championships 2022 last November too. This year, they returned only in May at the Thailand Para Badminton International 2023 and Bahrain Para Badminton International and was enough to warn their opponents of their strength. The Chinese para shuttlers clinched 15 golds together in both the events.
In between the Indonesian have come out with incredible show at the World Championships thanks to their doubles stars who went on to clinch five gold medals out of the six. While Khalimatus Sadiyah picked two gold in doubles, Rina Marlina emerged the black horse with her twin gold that included the nation’s only singles gold at the Tokyo 2022 Worlds.
Sadiyah along with Leani Ratri Oktila, the Paralympic champion pair, should dominate in women’s doubles SL3-SL4 event. Oktila herself should be among the medals in the women’s singles SL4.
In men’s SU5 Standing event, it will be yet again a repeat of many finals including the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and Worlds – Dheva Anrimusthi, the 2018 champion from Indonesia, and Malaysia’s Cheah Liek Hou, the reigning Paralympic and world champion.
In wheelchair events, the onus will be on the Republic of Korea and Japanese stars who have been dominating WH1 and WH2 events for some time now.
While seasoned stars Choi Jung-man (WH1) and Kim Jung-jun (WH2) would be among the medal contenders in men’s wheelchair event, the emergence of promising Daiki Kajiwara from Japan (WH2) and Zimo (WH1) will make the wheelchair events a mouth-watery contests.
While mentioning this, we cannot forget another veteran star from Hong Kong Chan Ho Yuen who has been in the men’s WH2 mix for a long time. He would be looking to break Kajiwara dominance in, probably, his last outing at Paralympics.
In the women’s competition, the Chinese women are expected to dominate in wheelchair and standing events with Yutong, Hefang and Yang Qiuxia (SU5) looked confident to defend their gold medals in Hangzhou.
In Bahrain 2023 International, they have come out with impressive performance with Yutong and Yin Menglu even shocking the Paralympic champions Sarina Satomi and Yuma Yamazaki in straight games for women’s doubles Wh1-WH2 gold.
In Indonesia 2018, Yutong was the youngest player to compete in the Badminton event at 14.
The Para Badminton events will run over every day until the closing of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games. Para Badminton has been part of all three editions of the Asian Para Games and featured as part of the Paralympic Games programme for the first time at Tokyo 2020.
For Paris 2024 Games, 120 athlete slots across 16 medal events have been allocated for the sport with the qualification deadline until August 2024. And Hangzhou 2022 APG will be one of the most important events in the road to the Paris 2024 with Paralympic stars in focus.