Zbyněk Sýkora became the most successful player of the Czech Para Badminton Open tournament


Zbyněk Sýkora won a golden hat trick among wheelchair players at the Czech Para Badminton Open and became the most successful player of the tournament. A total of 11 world championship participants and 4 players from the top 15 of the world ranking, Sawada, Grzyb, Wolny and Manninen, competed at the championship.

A lot has changed since 2017, when the first Czech Para Badminton Open was held on the Czech soil. Back then, 7 Czech wheelchair players participated in the tournament and competed in only 2 disciplines. The first winners were Zdeněk Krupička and Zuzana Přibilová. 8 years later the event has grown to 79 participants from 17 countries including Japan. We asked the main organizer Tomáš Vovs how the Czech Para Badminton Open has developed over the years, how he would evaluate this year's edition and what awaits the tournament in the coming year.

The main organizer Tomáš Voves (Badminton Sharks Brno) told us many interesting facts about the Czech Para Badminton Open:

"Looking back, I would highlight 3 big milestones. The first one we achieved with Czech Para Badminton when we had the first standing players and players in 2019. Back then, the groups were still merging because there were not enough athletes starting in each group, but everyone enjoyed being able to participate as well. I consider this milestone to be the most important one because Para-Badminton is not just wheelchair athletes. The 2nd milestone was last year when the number of countries increased dramatically to 10. This was mainly due to the tournament moving from Rousínov to Prague, making the tournament more accessible and attractive to international para athletes. And the 3rd milestone is the participation of Asian players this year. I am happy that representatives of the country of the rising sun took part in the tournament in the Czech Republic. In the same year as the 1st Czech Para Badminton Open we were invited to Tokyo with our Brno training group. The Japanese side took care of us in 2017 with their own care. In addition to joint training sessions at the national center and Chiba University, several trips were prepared for us. This year we were finally able to repay Japanese hospitality at least partially by inviting representatives of Japan to the Czech Republic. The tournament grew to the required size for everyone to play. This year, perhaps only the men's SU5 category with upper limb disability failed to be filled. Originally 5 fighters signed up, but in the end 2 had to withdraw and 1 withdrew from the tournament rather unexpectedly. In the other groups there was quite a good turnout and competition. The championship was attended by 79 disabled athletes, including 18 participants of the European Championships, 11 participants of the World Championships and 4 players from the top 15 of the world ranking. They are Japan's Shiho Sawada, Poland's Natalia Grzyb and Anna Wolny and Finland's Heidi Manninen. This year's edition was again a bit bigger and more demanding in terms of preparation. Over 12 organizers, 20 judges and 25 volunteers were involved in the organization. And let's not forget the 23 partners and sponsors. Preparations took half a year. As the tournament was not on the BWF World Badminton Federation calendar, it was quite laborious to approach potential participants individually. But the hard work paid off. I am very happy with how the tournament was organized. As far as I know, our tournament is unparalleled in the world. Either it is a smaller event for 3 neighbouring countries, as it used to be in the Czech Republic, or it is a big world tournament from the BWF calendar. We like to have returning participants at this tournament because it offers a slightly different atmosphere. Although everyone wants to win, there is a relaxed and friendly atmosphere between the competitors. And how did it all turn out? Wheelchair racer Zbynek Sýkora managed to win all 3 disciplines and became the most successful player of the tournament thanks to his teammate Anna Wolny from Poland in mixed doubles and strong support from his teammate Ales Eger in men's doubles. After that, Japan's Shiho Sawada and Sena Tomoyose dominated, as did Sweden's Elsa Gautaditor and the Netherlands' Meike De Kraa. Furthermore, Siegmund Mainka of Germany, Karine Muller of France, Hillevi Salomonsson of Sweden, Julia Schramm of Germany, Tomek Szwedo of Poland won their singles matches, Filip Rataj became the champion after Tomas Drtil withdrew, and the category of small players was dominated by the nice Romanian Cristian Alin. For the next year, Czech para-badminton has another new challenge, as the Czech Badminton Federation is taking an official international tournament under its wing, which will put the Czech Republic on the world badminton map. Yes, the Czech Para Badminton International will be a BWF world tournament. So far, everything indicates that it will be a tournament for wheelchair players only, but I still hope that the federation will do its best and prepare decent conditions for all para badminton groups. The Czech Republic won a total of 14 medals at the 7th Czech Para Badminton Open, 7 among wheelchair racers and 7 among standing racers. Congratulations to all the winners, but thanks to all the participants who once again created an unforgettable atmosphere. I would also like to say a big thank you to absolutely everyone involved in the preparations and organisation."