STEPPING UP IN TOKYO – JAPAN PARA BADMINTON INTERNATIONAL 2019

Suzuki's on track for the SU5 win.
olympics.bwfbadminton.com|15-Nov-2019 17:00

Japan’s Ayako Suzuki, Standing (SU5) women’s singles world No.1 player is constantly working to improve her footwork which she believes is 80 percent of her overall ability to play her best.

“I think my problem is footwork. I struggle to keep up and move for the rallies, especially if the opponent is fast and can return all my shots like today,” said Suzuki after defeating Indonesia’s Rahayu Warining 21-4 21-5 on day three of the HULIC DAIHATSU Japan Para Badminton International 2019.

Suzuki who is also No.1 in the Race to Tokyo rankings and the top seed here is the favourite for the win but her toughest obstacles are China’s Yang Qiuxia and the very determined Cathrine Rosengren of Denmark.

|Read more| INAUGURAL UNIFIED SPECIAL OLYMPICS CHAMPIONSHIPS BEGIN

Apart from her footwork, however, Suzuki seems to have an edge over the rest where the venue conditions of the Yoyogi Gymnasium are concerned.

“I’m feeling generally good here. On the first day, I had problems with the atmosphere and the courts. I’ve got used to it now although when I look up, sometimes the bright lights make me dizzy but I think it does the same to the other player so I plan to take advantage of that against my opponents.”

Another athlete stepping up her training will be Norway’s Helle Sofie Sagoy, seeded first in the Standing (SL4) women’s singles.

Sagoy had no trouble reaching the semifinals after she defeated Olivia Meier of Canada 21-10 -21-13, and in the absence of world champion Leani Ratri Oktila of Indonesia, Sagoy’s chances of winning here are high unless China’s Cheng Hefang gets in her way.

“I don’t feel any pressure here. In this last year I think I’ve got closer to the best players but after this tournament, I’ll be working on more strength training to be able to play more matches. I’ll be looking to collect more qualifying points for the Paralympics and get a better ranking position,” she said.