2 September 2021

Coombs prevails in all-British affair on badminton's Paralympic debut

Krysten Coombs got the better of teammate Jack Shephard as ParalympicsGB’s badminton debutants continued to make their mark in Tokyo.

Shephard is the number one seed in men’s singles SH6 Group A but it was Coombs took the first game 21-12, capitalising on uncharacteristic errors from the world number one.

Shephard then fought back in the second before Coombs pulled away to win 21-10 and wrap up a straight-games victory in the Yoyogi National Stadium.

He wasn’t to have the same luck in his second game of the day, however, missing out 21-15 21-10 to Chu Man Kai of Hong Kong.


It was amazing to just experience the whole thing... with one of my best friends.

Krysten Coombs

“I just couldn’t get that final little bit that would get me through to win it. I’m pleased with how I played. I did my best and that’s the main thing,” said Coombs following his second match.

On his victory over Shephard, he added: “It was amazing to just experience the whole thing, to just get here now and be able to compete in the stadium, and to be able to do it with one of my best friends.

“We knew it was going to be tough that we’d have to play against each other in the first game, but I think to be able to both do it together, it’s just amazing.

“We said this in the beginning, we’re in this group together, so let’s both get through this group.”

With two progressing from each group of three, both ParalympicsGB players can still reach the weekend’s semi-finals.

Shephard knows defeat to Chu on Friday would immediately end his chances of reaching the last four.

But victory could then lead to Group A being decided on count back of points.

Jack Shephard has work to do in his semi-final bid

“It’s absolutely amazing, it’s been a dream of mine – and I’m sure it has Coombs’ – to be here for a long time and the day has come. It’s felt pretty special to play in a Paralympics,” said Shephard.

Life as a Paralympian got off to the perfect start for Martin Rooke, following on from Daniel Bethell – who became ParalympicsGB’s first badminton player yesterday – by becoming the first British competitor in the WH2 event.

The 48-year-old beat Dumnern Junthong of Thailand 2-1 in his first Group B match, losing the first game 18-21 before fighting back to win the second and third 21-15 21-12 to seal the victory.


Being here is incredible. How can you put it into words?

Martin Rooke

Both Rooke and next opponent Mai Jianpeng have already guaranteed their quarter-final places, with the winner of their Friday meeting confirmed as topping Group B ahead of the knockout stages.

“Obviously, nerves played a big part in my first set, I was a bit nervous, didn’t adapt to the conditions as quick as I should have done and once I got rid of my nerves, I relaxed,” he said.

“I knew that I could come through and it’s all about me being calm and just taking my time and me doing what I want to do and not worrying about what he’s doing.

“Being here is incredible. How can you put it into words?

“Like all of us, Daniel’s the first SL3, I’m the first WH2 of Britain to go into the Paralympics, what an honour.”

Share this page

Related News

two badminton players of short stature playing in a gym with the words Inside ParalympicsGB

2 December 2022

Inside ParalympicsGB | Strictly dance moves 💃, coffee club and new faces in the badminton team