After a frustrating wait, Rachel Choong has her eyes set on an 11th gold medal at the para-Badminton World Championships in Tokyo next week.
The BWF Para-badminton World Championships were postponed last year due to the Covid-19 Pandemic meaning the decorated Liverpool player has had to be patient.
After dominating every edition of the World Championships since 2013, Choong lost in the 2019 finals to Peru’s Giuliana Poveda Flores 21-9, 21-19. Flores currently leads the rankings in the SH6 women’s singles, a spot Choong wants to reclaim after dropping to third.
She said: “The standard of the women’s singles has drastically improved since the last Worlds in 2019 so it’ll definitely be a challenge.
“If we (me and Flores) do face each other, I hope that I can give her a better match than I did in 2019 as I was suffering with a back injury and felt like I couldn’t give it my all.”
The Crosby Badminton Club representative has 3-M Syndrome and plays in the SH6 short stature classification of the Women’s Singles, mixed and women’s doubles disciplines. Though she is not competing in women’s doubles this time, she will look to reclaim her women’s singles crown.
Currently stuck in Ottawa for an extra night… 🙃 But will (eventually) be coming home with silver in the women’s singles. 🥈 And very pleased to have topped the table of the mixed doubles exhibition with @krysten_coombs! 🥇#parabadminton #badminton #CanadaPB22 pic.twitter.com/eEbhOVjUiP
— Rach Choong (@rach_choong) June 13, 2022
Flores and Choong have since faced off in the Canada International finals which Flores also won in straight sets.
Said Choong: “I’ve seen she’s improved over the past few years. We’ve had great matches in the past and I’m sure if we play each other again next week, it will be another fierce fight.”
As history would suggest, the singles event is not her only forte. The Liverpudlian is also the current world number one in the mixed doubles with partner Andrew Martin but will be playing with Jack Shephard instead in Tokyo.
The team GB players have been training for seven weeks in Sheffield, a period Choong says has been helpful to work on various aspects of their game together.
“It’s been a steep learning curve for both of us but we know we have what it takes to compete at the top,” she said.
This will be their first World Championships as a partnership, but the pair are already sixth in the world rankings despite only training with each other since early this year.
First day on the GB Para-Badminton Programme and the FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF MY PARIS 2024 PARALYMPIC JOURNEY!!! 🇬🇧🏸
— Rach Choong (@rach_choong) March 21, 2022
Though she has her eyes on the top prize, Choong is also excited to just be on the same court the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics were held in, which she did not compete in due to her events not being included. The 28-year-old sees the upcoming tournament as her “alternate Paralympic experience” and hopes to kickstart her form going into Paris 2024.