Jayci Simon and Miles Krajewski into the Semifinals at 2023 Spanish Parabadminton International

By Mike Krajewski

Following four long days at the 2023 Spanish Parabadminton International, Team USA remained alive in four events. Jayci Simon (SH6) and Miles Krajewski (SH6) each had two matches on the Friday schedule: each with singles and together in mixed doubles. Krajewski also has one last group match in Men’s Doubles scheduled for Saturday.

First up was a rematch of Krajewski and Simon’s mixed doubles group match with England. The results were the same in the quarterfinals, with USA falling 21-13, 21-10. The win ended their impressive run to finish in the top six at this tournament and provided valuable ranking points in the Race to Paris. 

The next events for Team USA were men’s and women’s singles quarterfinals where Simon faced 10-time world champion Rachel Chong from England and Krajewski faced Sivarajan Solaimalai from India. The scheduling team looked brilliant as it worked out that both matches were at the same time and next to each other. Two exciting matches gave the spectators everything they could have asked for. 

In men’s singles, Krajewski traded points with Solaimalai through all of game 1, before finishing with a run to close him out at 21-18. The second game saw Krajewski carry his momentum from the first by popping out to an 8-0 lead. Solaimalai did not yield and quickly made up the gap to tie it at 8 and then led going into the interval 11-10. Richard Alcaraz, supporting his teammate by coaching from the chair, was able to get Krajewski back on track and refocused on the mission. The talk did the job and Krajewski rallied to win the game 21-19, securing his place in the semifinals. 

Meanwhile, Simon waged her own battle on the next court. Simon started the match trading blows with the World #3, exchanging short 2- and 3-point runs before falling in the first game 21-18. The second game progressed much like the first and Simon found herself down 18-15. Digging deep when facing match point at 20-19, she found a way to draw even with Chong at 20-all. Simon fought off another match point at 21-20 and then gained the upper hand at 22-21. The two players traded points, and ultimately Simon pulled the match even with a 26-24 win. 

Going to the third, Simon found her groove and kept the pedal down. Up 11-7 at interval she came out of the break with increased confidence and finished out the match 21-16 to advance another Team USA player to “Semifinal Saturday.” 

Speaking of the team’s performances, team manager Mike Krajewski said, “This has been a great day for USA Parabadminton! It was an all-around team effort with both matches going on at once. Richard has proven himself to be a great presence in the chair for Miles. Helping him to some really big wins in Colombia in November and again this week in Spain. The support he gives to both these young players is tremendous and it is clear they have developed a very special bond.”

Simon and Krajewski were both featured in an article on the Badminton World Federation’s website. Check it out here!

If you are interested or know someone who is interested in playing Parabadminton in the U.S., please contact USA Badminton Para Director Steve Kearney at steve@usabadminton.org.

The tournament continues on Saturday and can be followed on Tournament Software here: https://bwfpara.tournamentsoftware.com/tournament/3f10c1b7-4c97-4fef-8d35-fa251ef57aa4/Matches

And follow the matches on Badminton Spain’s YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/@BADMINTONSPAIN

Photo Credit: BadmintonPhoto (Craig Burgess)