Australia’s Caitlin Dransfield is currently competing in Ireland at the FZ Forza Irish Para-Badminton International 2019 as she aims to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games – the first time Para-Badminton will be played.
The international Para-Badminton circuit comes with an added twist for Dransfield, as a smaller community of players on the elite field means that players often have to search for doubles partners from other nations, particularly as there are a smaller number of players available in the same classifications.
Dransfield was born with right-sided Hemiplegia Cerebral Palsy, therefore is classified as an SL 4 competitor.
In Ireland, she is competing in all three disciplines, with new partners compared to her previous Para-Badminton tournaments from earlier this year.
Thankfully, the process for finding a partner is relatively straight forward amongst the tight-knit community of players.
“The process of selecting partners can be difficult if you don’t have someone from the same country to play with. I usually text a friend of mine within the badminton circles who often knows people requiring a partner. If I am unable to find a partner that way, I will wait until the list comes out on tournament software and contact them directly”, says Caitlin.
“If I am unable to do this, we wait until the managers meeting where we identify the players who require a partner in the same doubles event. Once they have agreed, it is signed off and the form is given to the referee.”
It’s been a couple of months since the last Para-Badminton tournament and like many other players, Caitlin is balancing a degree with her playing career. Thankfully, she has the contacts and motivation to maintain a consistent training programme.
“Since Dubai I have been at home training hard on court and off court. I have organised multiple able-bodied competitions between there and now which have also been beneficial to practice match play. Off court, I have been busy working and completing University”, says Caitlin.
On day one of competition in Ireland, Caitlin was competing in the Mixed Doubles SL3-SU5 event with Switzerland’s Patrick Meili and opened with one win and one loss, which secures a place in the last 16.
- Tetsuo Ura/Noriko Ito (JPN) [5/8] vs Patrick Meili/Caitlin Dransfield (SWI/AUS) 21-3 21-3
- Patrick Meili/Caitlin Dransfield (SWI/AUS) vs Bobby Griffin/Emma Louise Stoner (ENG) 21-19 21-13
“The first game was tough against the Japanese and unfortunately we lost…in the second match against the English we worked well together, hit good shots and made them move and were able to win the game. This means we are through to the round of 16”, says Caitlin.
Caitlin will return to court on day two (Thursday 20 June) to begin her Women’s Singles SL4 campaign against Scotland’s Mary Margaret Wilson.
Follow the latest scores and results from the FZ Forza Irish Para-Badminton International 2019 on Tournament Software.