25 July, 2023
After returning from the Canada Open with two bronze medals, Rachel Choong is determined to go at least one step further at the 4 Nations Para Badminton International.
Choong, currently world No.4 in the women’s singles SH6 classification, will be on the hunt for more valuable points towards Paralympic qualification when the tournament gets underway in Sheffield.
The English Institute for Sport will host the 4 Nations tournament which will take place between 2 – 4 August.
The 29-year-old joined England’s para badminton programme 18 months ago and has worked tirelessly to qualify for Paris 2024, her first Paralympics.
Ahead of the 4 Nations, she said: “I’m trying to use my two bronze medals from the Canada Open to fuel me and aim higher in Sheffield.
“The fact that it’s in EIS, it’ll be great to still feel at home as well as be competing.
“With the 4 Nations being a Level One tournament too, with that prestigiousness, I’m really excited for it and it’ll be great to welcome everyone from across the world to Sheffield.
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“Hopefully we can put ourselves in the best position for the World Championships next year which will be one of the last qualifying tournaments as well as making a big impact.
“I try and stay quite present, thinking about the next tournament as it comes, but I do think about what I want to achieve and Paris is definitely the thing that is driving me forward and pushing me, it is my goal throughout all of that.
“My body took a bit of a hit after joining the programme but I’ve got a lot stronger and I can move around the court better so it’s just trying to maintain that and find those small percentage gains wherever I can.”
A Level One event on the World Circuit, 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 event has been created bring together the four Nations on several initiatives with the intention of sharing resources, learning and expertise that will enable more people to play badminton.
As well as the women’s singles event, Choong will also take to the para badminton stage with mixed doubles partner Jack Shephard as they look to advance on their No.3 world ranking status.
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She said: “Jack is such an experienced player, it was quite comfortable for us to start playing together.
“There were huge learning curves for both of us. I would play mixed on a social level but there were huge moments where we were learning how to play mixed properly to a high competitive level for our classification.
“Each time we go onto court I feel like we come off having learned something about the game or one another.
“I can’t really say that I had a role model growing up in SH6 and if I can help encourage someone to join this sport, that would be amazing.
“I’ve dedicated so much of my life to it because I love it and, if I can, I’d love to help someone feel that passion for it that I have.”