As the deadline for Paralympics qualification approaches, India’s para badminton athletes are gearing up to make their mark at the upcoming World Championships in Pattaya. With just weeks left before the March 31 cutoff, players like Manasi Joshi, Mandeep Kaur, and Palak Kohli are eyeing strong performances to secure their spots at the Paralympic Games later this year.
Having secured 21 medals, including historic victories at the Para Asian Games in Hangzhou last year, India’s para badminton contingent is riding a wave of momentum. Joshi and Kaur, who claimed bronze medals in singles, further showcased their prowess by clinching silver and bronze respectively in the women’s doubles SL3-SU5 event. With such commendable achievements under their belt, the players are now focused on the World Championships as a crucial stepping stone towards Paralympic qualification.
Speaking to PTI, Manasi Joshi highlighted the significance of the World Championships in the qualification process. “The qualification process ends on March 31, from that day our rankings and the race to Paris will be frozen and that is why this World Championship tournament is important for all of us”. With a packed schedule of competitions in recent months, including the Asian Games and upcoming Paralympics, the para athletes are primed to deliver their best performances on the court.
For Mandeep Kaur, the two-month training window leading up to the World Championships is invaluable. “We did not get much time (to train) before the Para Asian Games, the tournaments are happening back to back. But we have got about two months to train for the World Championships and we are working hard and hope to give our 100 per cent,” she stated.
Palak Kohli, despite facing personal challenges, exudes confidence in her pursuit of a podium finish at the Paralympics in Paris, “My main target this year is Paris; I am not looking at anything lesser than a podium at Paris,” she said. .
The World Championships hold particular importance for these athletes, as Palak Kohli explains, “It has higher level of points than the other tournaments including the Para Asian Games.” With their eyes set on Paralympic berths, India’s para badminton stars are poised to showcase their skill and determination on the international stage in Pattaya.