2023 Thailand Parabadminton International
By Mike Krajewski
Two players are representing Team USA at the 2023 edition of the Thailand Parabadminton International being held in Pattaya. Richard Alcaraz, SL4, is competing in Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles with Angel Gabriel Gomez Vazquez (Mexico), and in Mixed Doubles with Amonrat Jamporn (Australia). Miles Krajewski, SH6, is competing in Men’s Singles and Mixed Doubles with Yasmina Eissa (Egypt).
With six standing courts and four wheelchair courts available for play, the tournament is only six days instead of the usual seven, with play beginning this past Tuesday. Matches on Thursday concluded group play for both players.
For Alcaraz, this tournament was an opportunity to secure critical ranking points for the 2023 ParaPan American Games being held in Santiago, Chile. In singles, Alcaraz went 0-2 in a Group B, losing to France and the 2-seed from Indonesia. The 3rd place finish puts Alcaraz in a very good position to qualify through the singles allocation process for Santiago. The final tournament for qualification is the upcoming Canada Level 1 tournament in June, after which Alcaraz should know his status.
In mixed doubles, Alcaraz and Jamporn lost their first group match and then were forced to withdraw from their final two matches due to an injury sustained by Jamporn. In men’s doubles, Alcaraz again faced a difficult draw, getting put into Group A with two pairs from India, including the tournament’s top-seed, Bhagat and Kadam. Alcaraz and Vazquez lost both matches to finish the playing portion of the tournament for Alcaraz.
As he has done in the Spain and Brazil tournaments earlier this year, Alcaraz shifted duties to coaching Krajewski in his events. Krajewski and Eissa went 1-1 in their mixed doubles group, losing to top-seed Indonesia 21-2, 21-13 but bouncing back to defeat the Peruvian pair of Tunque/Vargas in a hard-fought match, 20-22, 21-18, 21-18 to advance to the quarterfinals. There, they will face newcomers and Group B winners, China. Krajewski’s usual partner, Jayci Simon, was unable to travel to this tournament. The pair will resume their pursuit for Paris points in Canada in June.
On his quest for Paralympic qualification, Krajewski’s primary focus in Thailand is men’s singles. Krajewski was drawn into Group D with the 3/4 seed Coombs, from England, and Lee from Korea. On Day 1, Krajewski defeated Lee 21-14, 21-6, setting up a group-deciding match with Coombs on Thursday.
The rematch from the Brazil Quarterfinals was another back-and-forth battle between the two. Krajewski took the first game, 21-17. The veteran and Tokyo Paralympic bronze medalist did not yield and took command in the second game, jumping out early to a 14-5 lead before holding on for a 21-15 win. The third and deciding game started off close with both players exchanging points to a 5-4 lead for Krajewski, who then reeled off 4 straight points to go up 9-4 and take an 11-6 lead into interval. Coming out of interval, Krajewski played confidently and ran off another 5 points to take a commanding 17-6 lead before closing it out 21-9.
The win gave Krajewski a bye into the Quarterfinals, where he will play the winner of Thailand/China on Friday.
The tournament can be followed on Tournament Software: https://bwfpara.
tournamentsoftware.com/ tournament/A9092A9A-7FE8-41B8- A51B-588F950A86C8/matches
Photo Credit: BadmintonPhoto (Craig Burgess)