Daniel Bethell at the World Championships earlier this year (credit Badminton Photo)

Bethell aims for SL3 glory in 2020

12/28/2019 9:11 AM |  BadmintonEurope.com |  Bobby Griffin (BEC)

Daniel Bethell took his second international title last month and is now deep into winter training, with a view to unsettle the world-leader throughout 2020

Arguably the only man capable of stopping India’s world number one SL3 men’s singles hero, Pramod Bhagat, is challenger Daniel Bethell, England.

Bhagat has been almost unstoppable since Paralympic Qualifying began in the Spring. With six international titles to his name including the World Championships, he leads the Race to Tokyo ranking list and is therefore favourite to take Gold at next year’s Paralympic Games.

Currently leading the rankings in both SL3 men’s singles, and SL3/4 men’s doubles, Bhagat has dropped singles titles this year just four times. Thailand and Denmark gold medals went to his teammate, greatly helping Manoj Sarkar’s ranking points.

Otherwise Bethell has been the only man to steal the Indian’s crown, with wins in Canada in May and the latest international event which doubled as the Paralympic Test Event, in Tokyo last month

The Games mean everything to me

We caught up with Bethell this month to get an insight into his disability, a permanent movement disorder that largely affects one side of the body. He told us how he overcomes this to perform on court.

- I have cerebral palsy and it means I have issues with movement, particularly sideways movement. So playing full-court singles would cause me real problems. The great thing about Para badminton is that it is so inclusive and so there is an event to suit everyone with a disability.

- Half-court singles requires a lot of physical and mental strength. Games are often longer than other forms of the game, and so fitness and endurance is important. With my disability I use more energy than an able-bodied person would and so keeping my conditioning to a high level is a focus. Strength training and physiotherapy has been crucial over the past couple years, he added.

We asked Bethell how he feels about where the sport is now compared to when he started playing, and what it means to have a chance to perform in Tokyo next summer. He had this to say.

- The sport has grown so much in those 10 years, and just to see it reach this level is incredible. I have put a lot of hard work into this journey and even more importantly a lot of people have put a lot of hard work into me. And whilst I want to do this for myself, I feel as though I owe it to a lot of people too.

- The Paralympic Games means everything to me, it is what I’ve been striving for since I started playing badminton in 2010. I first watched the Paralympics in 2008, Beijing, and thought how amazing it would be to be there, but I never thought I would ever be in a position to get there. To realise that dream would be amazing!

Look out for more Para badminton reviews of the different sport classes this week across our platforms 

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