With most badminton players keen to enjoy a well earned break there was no such luxury for members of Alpha’s Para Badminton club as they have been putting in the hours preparing for next week’s Irish Para Badminton Championships.
The championships are taking place from 22-26 June at the Antrim Forum.
With 150 players from 28 countries the local players will be bidding to improve on their haul of five medals last year but competition will be particularly keen in the Short Stature 6 Mens Singles with seventeen setting out to take the title from Ireland’s own two-times world champion Niall McVeigh.
Niall is eagerly looking forward to the challenge and admits “it will be great for spectators to see some of the very best in the world on our own doorstep.”
Didin Taresoh is the current world champion in this category having lifted the title last year beating England’s top players Andrew Martin in the final and Krysten Coombs in the semi so they will be out to avenge their defeats against the Malaysian player.
Our own Niall McVeigh is also looking forward to playing him again and avenging that defeat at the hands of the Malaysian in his opening match in the group stages of the world championships.
Niall’s clashes with another visitor to the Antrim Forum event Krysten Coombs of England have almost become legendary for their high tempo.
Laura Lee Jenkins is another player who has been putting in the hours of preparation at the National Badminton Centre in Lisburn and having won a bronze in the Wheelchair singles and doubles at the Irish Open will have a similar starting point as Niall with twelve starting off in the singles.
With 19 events to see it will certainly be worth paying a visit to the competition and another local player likely to catch the eye will be Andrew Moorcroft who has brought home a few medals in previous competitions while Michael Smith and Chris Stewart will be keen to add to their haul of titles in the Wheelchair events.
Stephen Halpin will be competing in the SL4 Mens Singles and an entry of 23 is quite a daunting prospect for him and he also teams up with Alpha’s adopted Scot Nial Jarvie in the doubles while Niall will have 22 in the entry for SL3 Mens Singles.