Three Australian players have travelled to Turkey to compete in the first Paralympic qualifying event of the year. The six-day long tournament is taking place in Antalya, Turkey with over 275 players competing in a rush to get a head-start on the world ranking lists.
Caitlin Dransfield,reigning regional champion in the women’s singles and mixed doubles SL 3 – SU 5 classification, is among the players competing from Australia. In this event, Dransfield has partnered up with compatriot, Céline Vinot and Germany’s Erwin De Smet in the women’s and mixed doubles SL 3 – SU 5 classifications.
On day one, Dransfield opened with the mixed doubles games in qualification group L – getting off to a great start against the 9/12 seeds from France – Meril Loquette and Coraline Beregeron. The dual-nationality pair won the match 21-11 21-14 before ending the day with one loss and another win to earn a place in round one of the main draw.
Caitlin’s singles campaign starts on Tuesday 2 March before pairing up with Vinot in group L of the women’s doubles qualifiers.
“I want to see improvements within my game from last time I played these girls and that I am competitive and can push them. I want to test myself and be able to hit good shots under pressure. For me, it isn’t all about winning it is observing my hard work come to fruition.”
“From here, I am going to Dubai, go home and keep training for a couple of months before heading to Ireland. After Ireland, I will be competing at the Nationals, more training at home before hopefully gaining selection into the World champs, more trading at home, then China and Thailand, more training and then finish the year off with Australia international.” – says Caitlin Dransfield.
Céline Vinot had a tough draw in group A in the mixed doubles, coming up against the first seeds from Indonesia, Hary Susanto and Leani Ratri Oktila. Leani, who won the same event at last year’s Australia Para-Badminton International, won the game 21-9 21-12.
Vinot, who paired up with David Jack Wilson from Wales, later suffered another defeat in three games to miss out on a place in the main draw. Similarly, Vinot will be in singles and women’s doubles action later in the week.
Australia’s Grant Manzoney, the region’s reigning WH 2 singles player, is out of the mixed doubles WH1 – WH 2 competition after competing alongside Dimitra Korokida from Greece. The pair had a tough draw in Group A, coming up against the number 1/2 seeds along the way, they were not able to secure a place in the main draw.
Later in the day, Manzoney opened his singles campaign against Brazil’s 5/8 seed, Julio Cesar Godoy. Manzoney recovered well to take the second game but eventually went down 21-17 19-21 21-17. The Australian still has another match in group E of the men’s singles WH2 classification on day two of competition.
A large number of those who competed in last year’s inaugural Australia Para-Badminton International 2018 in Geelong are amongst the huge entry list – including the memorable Chan Ho Yuen. Hong Kong’s Yuen celebrated a historic win in the WH 2 men’s singles after bringing an end to Korea’s Jungjun Kim impressive reign on the game. Both players will be looking for a win in this tournament as their Paralympic qualification begins.
More information about the classifications in para-badminton is available here.
All of the results from the 5th Turkish Para-Badminton International are available on Tournament Software.