GB Badminton is delighted to today announce the nation’s first ever GB Para-Badminton squad as attentions turn to Para-Badminton’s debut as an official Paralympic sport in Tokyo 2020.
The GB Para-Badminton squad features nine players representing four classifications, which is likely to be where players representing ParalympicsGB in Tokyo are selected from.
After finishing second on the medal table at the 2015 World Championships, Great Britain is considered a powerhouse in international Para-Badminton with strength in depth across all recognised classifications.
The inaugural GB Para-Badminton squad displays this title winning, world class experience.
Five reigning world champions have been selected and all nine players named are holders of a World Championship medal.
The full GB Para-Badminton squad is:
Martin Rooke (Hertfordshire)
Daniel Bethell (Wiltshire)
Alan Oliver (Clackmannshire)
Bobby Griffin (Avon)
Rebecca Bedford (Staffordshire)
Rachel Choong (Merseyside)
Kristian Coombs (Devon)
Andrew Martin (Kent)
Jack Shephard (Derbyshire)
The GB Para-Badminton squad will train together at camps at selected times throughout the year and the squad’s potential to win medals at a world class level will be reviewed annually.
Headlining the squad is Rachel Choong (pictured above), reigning three-time World Champion, in SS6.
Choong said: “I’m extremely happy and excited to have been selected for the squad. I love competing for my country and it also means that I’m one step closer to fulfilling my dream of competing in the Paralympics.
Becoming a Paralympian would mean everything to me. It has been my dream to be a Paralympian since I was first introduced to Para-Badminton in 2007 and I hope that it will come true in Tokyo.”
Bobby Griffin, 2015 World Championship bronze medallist in SL6, said: “Being selected for the squad is a massive step in the right direction and proof that all of my hard work, time, energy and resources that I’ve put in can help me achieve a Paralympic ambition.
“It’s a real honour to be able to be called a GB athlete. If I make it to Tokyo, to compete for GB in a Paralympic Games it will be the highest honour I could ever dream of.”
Stephen Baddeley, Interim Chairman of GB Badminton, said: “These are a big four years for Para-Badminton as we build up to full Paralympic status in Tokyo. With their performances in Rio, ParalympicsGB has shown to the world the first-class standard of disability sport across Great Britain and I believe this Para-Badminton squad will certainly add to this.
“We have a top quality Para-Badminton coaching network, a brilliant domestic tournament schedule and a set of world class athletes who have the appetite to compete, and win medals, at the highest possible level.
This squad gives me real confidence that we are not only ready for Tokyo 2020 but we will go into the Paralympics with high medal hopes.”
Para-Badminton was granted Paralympic status in October 2014 after six years of lobbying and is one of the fastest growing disability sports on the planet.
The 2015 World Championships staged in Stoke Mandeville – home of the modern Paralympic movement – drew a global entry of over 300 players from 36 nations.
Report courtesy of GB Badminton