Para-shuttler Tay off to winning start in Spain

Singapore's para-shuttler Tay Wei Ming in action during last September's Asean Para Games in Kuala Lumpur. Tay clinched the SU5 title yesterday at the Spanish Para-Badminton International, the first BWF para-badminton tournament of the year.
Singapore's para-shuttler Tay Wei Ming in action during last September's Asean Para Games in Kuala Lumpur. Tay clinched the SU5 title yesterday at the Spanish Para-Badminton International, the first BWF para-badminton tournament of the year.PHOTO: SPORT SINGAPORE

Para-shuttler Tay Wei Ming started his 2018 season the way he ended his 2017 - with a title.

The 29-year-old beat Turkey's Ilker Tuzcu 21-18, 21-11 in just 25 minutes to win the men's singles SU5 title at the Spanish Para-Badminton International in Alcudia, Mallorca last night.

The SU5 classification is for athletes with upper-limb impairment.

Tay dropped just one set - in his 16-21, 21-15, 21-19 semi-final win against Poland's Bartlomiej Mroz - en route to winning the title.

The tournament was the first competition of the year in the Badminton World Federation's (BWF) calendar for para-badminton.

"I am really happy to bring back the gold. This competition was a great morale booster for me because it was a great start to the season," said the Singaporean, who was born with Erb's palsy, which affected the growth of his right hand and caused nerve damage.

The 2017 Asean Para Games men's singles SU5 bronze medallist ended last year on a high, when he partnered Indonesian Suryo Nugroho to win the men's doubles SU5 title at the Para-Badminton World Championships in South Korea in November.

With just two weeks of training, the scratch pair upset defending champions Cheah Liek Hou and Hairol Fozi Saaba of Malaysia 18-21, 23-21, 21-18 to clinch the title.

It was the first time that a para-shuttler had won a world title, although Tay won three bronze medals at the world championships in 2013 and 2015.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2018, with the headline 'Para-shuttler Tay off to winning start in Spain'. Print Edition | Subscribe