20 July 2023
A relaxed mindset is key for Dan Bethell as he prepares himself for the challenge of competing on home soil at the 4 Nations Para Badminton International in Sheffield.
Current world No.1 in his SL3 men’s singles classification, Bethell will be among the leading home hopes when action begins at the English Institute for Sport on August 2nd.
The 27-year-old will be one of the home favourites at the tournament but there is also extra pressure for him and the rest of the Great Britain para badminton squad.
The EIS is where the Paralympic silver medallist and his teammates train day in, day out, and despite the extra expectation that might bring, he believes he is perfectly placed to deal with additional challenges.
“We’re very good as a squad, as a programme, at minimising the stress,” he said.
“Obviously we know the sort of expectations that are on us. That’s what it’s all about, that’s why we’re here – to win medals.
“But I think the coaches and ourselves as athletes are good at just not taking the stress, just looking at it as a badminton match, just playing a point at a time.
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“It’s what we’re training to do, it’s what we do every day. We’re in a really good position to play our best level without worrying about the expectation on us.
“We haven’t had a competition in England since the World Championships in 2015 in Stoke Mandeville, so it’s really exciting to be able to play in my home country, and have family and friends come up to support me.
“To have the tournament there, to showcase where we play, where para badminton in Great Britain is based, is going to be very special.”
A Level One event, 4 Nations will be one of the biggest para badminton events to ever take place in Britain, with special thanks to Yonex – the Official Equipment Partner of the 4 Nations Para Badminton International.
The tournament is of huge importance for Bethell, all of the home nations players, and for all players competing in terms of qualification for next summer’s Paralympic Games in Paris with qualification points on offer.
Bethell has put himself in a strong position to claim a spot in what would be his second Paralympics after an impressive start to the qualification period.
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He started the season with back-to-back titles in Spain, before a runner-up finish in Thailand and then a third title of 2023 in Canada.
And he approaches action in Sheffield full of confidence, with a gold medal on his mind.
He said: “My ultimate goal is to win the tournament. I’ve had a good year so far, so I want to continue that momentum.
“Obviously to win your home tournament is something extra special, maybe compared to the other internationals. Going out there and winning the tournament is my ultimate ambition.
“I have had a good amount of success, winning a few tournaments, so it’s put me in good stead so far. It’s been a long year, qualification year is very tough.
“We’re going around to all sorts of places all over the world to try and get points for qualifying, but to have had the results I’ve had at the beginning of the year has been fantastic and I’m just hoping I can continue that momentum into the second half of the qualifying period.”