Excitement and Emotion as men’s WH 2 finalists decided

Paralympic pedigree graced the Glasgow courts as Tokyo bronze medalist Daniel Chan Ho Yuen and gold medalist Daiki Kajiwara booked their place in the WH 2 final.


Chan dispatched his long-term rival Kim Jong-Jun 21, 21 to 10, 15, whilst Kajiwara survived an intense first set to beat Sooyoung Yu 24, 21 to 22, 10.


Having played against each other in both singles and doubles matches countless times, the contest promised to be tightly fought throughout. However, as Chan explained when speaking after the match, it also carried significant emotional weight.


“I’m quite emotional,” he explained. “That may be the last time we see a battle together with me and Kim Jong-Jun.


“He’s my teacher. He’s my brother. He’s the one and only one player I recognise as a legend in Para Badminton. I’ve very much enjoyed playing against him and I’ll miss him.”


On the court, Chan flew out the blocks to take a seven-to-three lead, forcing mistakes out of his opponent through his shot variation.


Jong-Jun’s experience meant he was never left out of reach by Chan, returning a powerful smash with remarkable reflexes that brought a wry smile from his opponent.


Chan would return fire and race to a 21 to 10 victory in the first set. Jong-Jun would’ve been disappointed with the wide scoreline though as he remained competitive throughout.


Evidently, he did not let this disappointment affect him as Jong-Jun was within two points of his opponent at the second set interval. The Korean player had cut out his mistakes too, remaining in rallies to keep his hopes of a deciding set alive.


The match would drift away from Jong-Jun though as Chan forced him to the net at every opportunity, finally producing a deft drop shot that left no room for Jong-Jun to return over the net.


The two embraced at the net after the match point, knowing that they had likely played out the final chapter of their storied rivalry.


Chan would not have to wait long to find out his opponent in the final, as the second WH 2 semi-final was being played out simultaneously.


In a repeat of the 2022 Asian Para Games final, Sooyoung took the upper hand in the first set. Lengthy rallies suited both players but Kajiwara found it difficult to turn them into points, often losing out to a deft drop shot from his opponent at the net.


Trailing by six points at the interval, Kajiwara closed the gap on Sooyoung by forcing him to work harder. Regular dashes to the backcourt and the net for the Korean saw him lose his lead.


With the mammoth set level at 20 points a piece, it was Sooyoung who took the initiative, but an inch-perfect drop shot by Kajiwara kept him alive. The Paralympic champion would eventually take the set 24 to 22, a hammer blow to Sooyoung who remained competitive throughout.


This disappointment was apparent in the opening exchanges of the second set. The competitive rallies continued but mistakes began to creep into Sooyoung’s game, leaving him trailing 11-5 at the interval.


Kajiwara’s choice and accuracy of shot were particularly impressive as he closed in on the victory. What was perhaps lacking in the first set was an ability to score consistently in the long rallies, but smart shots saw him overcome Sooyoung 21 to 10 to see him through to the final.

Kajiwara and Chan will meet in one of 16 finals when the 4 Nations Para Badminton International concludes on Sunday.


By Nathan Hassett

(1) Nathan Hassett (@nathanhassett__) / X