Daniel Bethell in action last year in the SL3 men's singles (credit Badminton Europe)

A player’s view - Daniel Bethell

3/17/2020 4:50 PM |  BadmintonEurope.com |  Bobby Griffin (BEC)

Whilst the Covid-19 health pandemic cancelled the final Paralympic qualifying tournament and threatens to put the tournament schedule on hold, Daniel Bethell is trying to keep a level head.

The fourteen tournament Road to Tokyo calendar was cut short this month, as the Spanish International was cancelled due to the recent health outbreak. In addition, many Para badminton players will be uncertain whether they have done enough to qualify for the Paralympics 2020 as we await confirmation from the BWF and the IPC.

We interviewed SL3 men’s singles star Daniel Bethell this week to find out his views on life as a professional Para badminton player right now, and how he feels for himself and the rest of Team GB given the current circumstances. Daniel had this to say.

- For me, it was disappointing not to be able to go to Spain. I felt it was a very anticlimactic way to end a long and hard qualifying period. I can speak for my teammates too when I say that was the hardest thing we have ever done, the continual intensity of those many months should have ended on a high with that tournament. I performed well over the period and am pleased with my six finals in seven tournaments.

Read – Marin: we all just need to keep going

- I have felt fairly secure since delivering well at the test-event in Japan last year, and didn’t need to push myself in South America last month. I have been home and training which was great, but without Spain last week I haven’t played a tournament for many months now and won’t until Canada in June, added the Englishman.

- I hope that one goes ahead, and then gives us a twelve week training block before the Games. I need to test myself against the best in the world, said the world number two.

- A couple of my teammates are not guaranteed places in the Paralympics yet, it’s a waiting game now. They have done all they can and put themselves in the best position possible so fingers crossed. We have the full support of the BPA (British Paralympic Association) behind us and that’s good to know they will help do everything they can to get us all on the plane to Tokyo, said Bethell.

‘We have to keep our heads down’

We asked Bethell what the mood is like within Para badminton right now.

- There is a lot of uncertainty around at the moment, both with the virus and with qualification for the Games. The UK has not yet shut down the schools, but that may happen soon. Players unsure what decisions will be made about draw sizes and bipartite slots, tournaments may not go ahead due to the Coronavirus, we just have to keep our heads down and keep training hard, he said.

- It is still a really exciting time, qualification is done and after a short break the goal will be to get into the best possible shape for Tokyo 2020. It will be heartbreaking for some who don’t quite make it to this summer’s main event, but it is just one event and not the only thing in the world, added Bethell.

- I am glad the BWF and the national associations have prioritised welfare over anything else, given the current circumstances and I hope the situation recovers soon.

Look out for more Para badminton news on our platforms over the coming weeks.

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