The HULIC DAIHATSU BWF Para Badminton World Championships 2022 was held from 1- 6 November 2022, in Tokyo, Japan. The international badminton competition is for athletes with physical disabilities.
We caught up with Colin Leslie who competed in the Men’s Singles and Men’s Doubles to chat about the importance of the tournament and what it’s like to play on the world stage.
The qualification for the event was taken from the world rankings and results from previous years – Colin had an automatic qualification on the first round.
Flights where Edinburgh-Heathrow-Tokyo and reverse on the way home, each journey was 14 hours each way! Colin arrived a few days before the competition to try and acclimatise and get some practice in the hall.
The tournament is the second biggest on the circuit for para badminton players after the Paralympics. When discussing preparations for the event Colin tells us: “Before I went I had to do an Anti-Doping Course, if I didn’t pass I would not have been allowed to play. I also had lots of paperwork to do for visas etc that Badminton Scotland helped me to complete”.
Colin’s Singles Results
SL3 – Group of 4
Costa Rica – Won 21-14 & 21-9
Korea – Lost 1-21 & 8-21
France – Lost 12-21 & 12-21
Colin’s Doubles Results
SL3-4 Partner Antony Forester (ENG)
India – lost 21-18, 8-21 & 4-21 – “played really well, match was outstanding”
France – Won 21-14 & 21-17 – “good game and we were competitive”
England – Lost 17-21 & 20-22
Colin says “it was tough competition due to legs being inflamed (flared up just before leaving) and high level of competitors compare to pervious editions of the event”.
The experience of a massive tournament, meeting new people, making new connections across the world and experiencing new cultures is something Colin enjoys about playing at this level, however he commented saying: “The atmosphere and mixing with other players wasn’t as good as other events as once the players had finished their games they left the hall, as all the facilities were outside the hall”.
Badminton Scotland paid entry fees for the event and the rest was self-funded by Colin.
“I received a grant of £500 from Russell Hogg Trust, £300 from East Lothian Council, £150 Lothian Disability Badminton Club and £267 from Midlothian Council as well as free use of the facilities for a year”.
“There was no Scottish coach and no support from the other Home Nations coaches when I was there, but I am thankful for the players and parents who helped me. As an affluent country we should be taking coaches with the performance players whenever possible especially for the big events”.
What’s next for Colin
Colin will be playing in the UK Champs in December (Sheffield), but with work commitments he says he will be struggling to get to the next few internationals in Spain and Bahrain but hopes to make it to the next Europeans Para Champs in Rotterdam.