Dubai: India’s top para-shuttler Parul Parmar said on Tuesday that the 3rd Dubai Para Badminton International Championships will set the tone for an important year that comprises the Tokyo Paralympic Games and the World Championships.
Parmar, the top seed here and world No.1 in the women’s SL3 event, was happy that international events have resumed after more than a year. The last BWF event was the Peru International held in February 2020.
“More than anything, I am happy that international competition has resumed. It’s an important year as we have the Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, and this event will set the tone for the big events. I am happy that I could pull off my first singles played after so long,” said Parmar, who survived a scare from youngster Charanjeet Kaur before winning 21-13, 19-21, 23-21 in 36 minutes.
“Now that we are here, I hope everyone gives their best effort. I am also eyeing medals here and to be back home safely,” he said.
Later, Parmar along with young Palak Kohli, seeded second, got a bye in women’s doubles SL3-SU5 event. The duo is ranked fifth and is set to make the cut for the Tokyo Games.
Reigning world champions Pramod Bhagat and Manasi Joshi also opened their campaigns with wins here.
Joshi won her opening women’s singles SL3 match against Mandeep Kaur 21-17, 21-10 before she combined with Arati Janoba Patil to defeat Charanjeet Kaur and Vaishali Nilesh Patel 21-10, 21-10.
“It felt great to compete after a year at an international venue. The competitive spirit is super high in the Paralympic year. Players are prepared and it looked as everyone came here with a new version,” said Joshi, the Basel 2019 world champion.
Multiple-time world champion Bhagat combined with young Kohli to defeat Pavel Kulikov of Russia and France’s Lenaig Morin 21-17, 21-14 in a mixed doubles SL3-SU5 Group C match. Earlier, Kohli had also won her opening women’s singles SU5 match.
Elsewhere, there were all smiles at the Shabab Al Ahli Club as players took to the courts for competitive matches after more than a year, owing to Covid-19 pandemic.
As many as 127 players from 29 countries, including hosts the United Arab Emirates, are competing in the championship that has several world and Asian Para Games champions.