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“The 5th DAIHATSU

Japan Para-Badminton

Championships” Report

  • Date: Saturday 14 – Sunday 15 December, 2019
  • Venue: Chiba Port Arena

The 5th Daihatsu Japan Para-Badminton Championship Tournament was held over 2 days from Saturday 14th to Sunday 15th December, 2019 at the Chiba Port Arena in Chuo Ward, Chiba City.
Many designated development players of para-badminton who played an active role in the previous November’s HULIC・DAIHATSU Japan Para-Badminton International 2019 held in Yoyogi, Tokyo participated in the tournament. The tournament saw high-level competition in both the Singles and Doubles to decide the best para-badminton players in Japan.

Approximately 100 players participated from all over Japan. The players were grouped into a total of 18 classes including Men's, Women's, Singles, and Doubles, and each player aimed to take the top position. Many players who perform both domestically and on the world stage participated, and this tournament was the final settlement of 2019.

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Match Reports

The opening ceremony was held on Day 1, Saturday, 14th December, and the athlete's oath was taken by Sarina SATOMI, a native of Chiba Prefecture. Afterward, competitions were held in a total of 12 classes, including Men's and Women's Singles, and a total of six classes including Men's and Women's Doubles competed on Day 2, Sunday 15th, to decide the best of each class in Japan.

Many players competed in both the Singles and Doubles, and Daiki KAJIWARA in the WH2 class, Daisuke FUJIHARA in the SL3 class, Katsuhiro YAMAMOTO in the SL4 class, Taiyo IMAI in the SU5+ class, and Rintaro NAKANO in the ID7 class in the Men's won two titles. In the Women's, Sarina SATOMI in the WH1 class, Yuma YAMAZAKI in the WH2 class, and Noriko UCHIDA in the ID7 class also won two titles, and eight players held up two gold medals in the award ceremony.

Daisuke FUJIHARA, who won in the Men's Singles SL3 class for the fourth consecutive time, shut out his opponent in some games and advanced to the final with incredible power. His opponent in the final was Toshiaki SUENAGA, a rival he has competed against in the finals of the last four tournaments. In the last two tournaments, FUJIHARA was defeated by SUENAGA in the Doubles competition, but was undefeated in the Singles. The two went head to head for the fifth time in the final of this tournament, which was a tense tug of war between offense and defense from the very start of the game. However, FUJIHARA took the first game 21-10 after gradually extending his lead after the interval and carried on this momentum to win the second game. With this brilliant performance, he won the tournament for the fifth consecutive time. FUJIHARA also won as a pair with Katsuhiro YAMAMOTO, who won in the Men's Singles SL4 class, in the Men's Doubles SL3-4 class that took place the next day, taking home two titles this tournament. The results showed his dignified presence as a designated development player who performs on the world stage.

Taiyo IMAI, who won in the Men's Singles SU5+ class, is a notable young player who currently has the greatest momentum in the para-badminton world. In the Doubles final where he was paired with Tetsuo URA, a veteran player he looks up to as his mentor, he moved around the court freely with light footwork and showed outstanding play on both offense and defense against the pair of Yuya ITO, the champion of the last tournament, and Daichi BABA. He demonstrated remarkable teamwork with URA, dominating his opponents with his shot variations, and took the first game 21-16. However, the ITO and BABA showed their tenacity in the second game, which turned out to be a tight match where the pairs competed against each other for scores until the final stage of the game. In the end, IMAI and URA hung on to win the second game 21-18. IMAI brilliantly won titles in Singles and Doubles.

Sarina SATOMI in the Women's WH1 class, who took the athlete's oath at the opening ceremony, is originally from Chiba Prefecture where the tournament venue is located. She participated in this event with the mindset that she cannot lose a tournament held in her hometown, and competed against Ikumi FUKE, an employee of Daihatsu Motors, in the Singles final on Day 1. SATOMI and FUKE competed against each other in the finals of the same class in the last two tournaments, and the results were 1 win and 1 loss. The two, who are said to have been aware of each other since before the tournaments, had a head-to-head showdown for the third time in this final, with high-level rallies throughout the game. In this highly charged match the players called out to each other—when SATOMI raised her voice, FUKE responded—and the entire court became one. SATOMI won the heated match that attracted the attention of the entire venue 21-8 and 21-11, winning the tournament for the second consecutive time. SATOMI also won the tournament brilliantly in the Doubles where she was paired with Yuma YAMAZAKI, and displayed the full range of her world number ranked 1 abilities following the HULIC・DAIHATSU Japan Para-Badminton International 2019, which was held in November.
FUKE, the runner-up of the Singles tournament, also won 2nd place in the Women's Doubles WH1-2 class where she was paired with Rie OGURA. Despite being unfortunately defeated in the final by the powerful pair of Sarina SATOMI and Yuma YAMAZAKI, the Singles champions, FUKE brought excitement to the tournament until the end with her dynamic play, responding to the enthusiastic cheers from the stands.

Interviews with Winners

Singles: Saturday 14 December

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Men's Singles WH1
Osamu NAGASHIMA (Tokyo)

My four consecutive win streak in the tournament came to an end when I lost to MURAYAMA in the final last year. I'm simply happy to have won the tournament by defeating him this year. I played with a determination to simply win regardless of the content of the match as this is the tournament that decides the best players in Japan in one day. I'm glad I was able to achieve my goal as a result.

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Men's Singles WH2
Daiki KAJIWARA (Fukuoka)

I'm happy that I was able to halt the four consecutive wins of WATANABE and won the tournament for the first time. It was good that I was able to pick up the opponent's shuttle tenaciously by making full use of my chair work as I normally do and manage the match calmly even when the scores were reversed. I want to be myself and try hard without thinking about winning or losing in the next match as well. I think the results will naturally follow.

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Men's Singles SL3
Daisuke FUJIHARA (Tokyo)

I'm happy to have won the tournament for the fifth consecutive time. My goal was to win the domestic tournaments properly and play abroad as an ace player from Japan, as well as winning international tournaments. I'm glad I became the best player in Japan in the last domestic tournament of 2019. This year, I moved on to Daihatsu Motor Co, Ltd. that offers a practice environment with better quality. I'm so grateful that the whole company is supporting me.

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Men's Singles SL4
Katsuhiro YAMAMOTO (Osaka)

My opponent in the final was a colleague with whom I practice as a fellow designated development player. Since he is a student athlete, I competed with the mindset: “I can still keep up with young people!” After I won the first game, the opponent easily won the second game, which led to a tight match in the third. However, I'm glad I hung on to win somehow. My physical strength has decreased with age, but I will continue to do my best to maintain my strength.

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Men's Singles SU5+
Taiyo IMAI (Kanagawa)

I'm so happy to win the tournament by winning against URA of the same class, who is greatly senior to me. I realize how difficult it is to be on a winning streak. I feel so happy that I was able to win the tournament for the third consecutive time. Mental weakness was a problem for me last year, but I feel like I have become mentally stronger as I continued to play tough matches around the world. Since I started playing para-badminton, I have had experiences that not everyone gets to have. I'm really glad that I took up this sport.

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Men's Singles SH6
Yohei HATAKEYAMA (Tokyo)

I think I was able to win the tournaments consecutively because I was thoroughly prepared for the match with proper pre-match warm-up, etc. As a result, I was able to perform well until the end with fewer errors during the match. First of all, I want to work hard to rebuild my body next year. If I am selected as a designated development player again, I will do my best to prepare for matches on the international stage, as well as in Japan.

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Men's Singles ID7
Rintaro NAKANO (Nagano)

I'm happy to have won the tournament, but I was disappointed that the opponent against whom I competed in August had withdrawn from the tournament and that we could not play against each other in the final. I wanted to compete against him to the best of my ability in the final. As a current issue, I realize that I have to overcome drop shot attacks on both sides. I will practice with the guidance of my coach.

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Women's Singles WH1
Sarina SATOMI (Chiba)

First of all, I feel so relieved that I was able to win this tournament because it was held in my hometown, Chiba. I had been aware of FUKE, my opponent in the final, since before the match. I'm glad I did my best and won the tournament. After the match was over, FUKE and I exchanged words saying, “It was a good match.” I think the match was satisfactory to both of us. I'm really happy to have a partner with whom I can work hard and improve myself by learning from each other. Although I was able to achieve consecutive wins in this tournament, I played under the pressure of becoming the best player in Japan since I am the best player in the world. I'm really glad I won the tournament today.

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Women's Singles WH2
Yuma YAMAZAKI (Tokyo)

I'm genuinely happy to have won against OGURA, a fellow designated development player with whom I have been working to improve myself by learning from each other, in the final. Although I have been able to win this tournament consecutively since the 1st time, I have played under pressure every year. I'm happy that I won again this year and I think the match I played will lead to my future success. I became the best player in Japan again this year, so I will work hard to promote the full ability of the best player in Japan to the world when I compete in international tournaments.

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Women's Singles SL3
Noriko ITO (Aichi)

There were only two participants in the tournament this year and it feels strange to call myself the “champion” of a competition between only two players, but I feel relieved that I was able to win anyway. The second game was a tight match, but I managed to hang on to win since I was able to observe the opponent's shuttle properly in the first half of the game before playing the second half. This past year felt long, but has actually gone by very quickly. I want to work hard to build my body to prepare for next year.

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Women's Singles SU5+
Kaede KAMEYAMA (Miyagi)

I only played two matches partly because some players had withdrawn, so it doesn't really feel like I won the tournament. However, I think I played good matches that will lead to my future success because I put my best effort into each match to win the tournament. I'm currently ranked 4th in Women's Singles in Japan. First, I will try hard to keep this ranking, as the 5th place player moving up is the most pressing concern.

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Women's Singles ID7
Noriko UCHIDA (Aichi)

I was able to win the tournament last year and I'm glad I managed to win again, although I was under the pressure of being the number 1 seed this year. Actually, I played with the goal of keeping the opponent's scores under 10 points in every game, but she scored more than 10 points in the first game of the final. However, I was able to keep them under 10 points in the second game and won, so that was good. I want to do my best to win this tournament for the third consecutive time next year.

Doubles: Sunday 15 December

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Men's Doubles WH1-2
Hiroshi MURAYAMA (Chiba) / Daiki KAJIWARA (Fukuoka)

I was paired with a different partner than last year. I'm glad I won the tournament. I'm happy that I won today because my opponent in the final was a partner with whom I have worked hard to improve myself for one year by learning from each other. KAJIWARA has become an extremely encouraging partner for me this year. (MURAYAMA)

I've learned so much from MURAYAMA this past year, including his techniques and attitude toward a match. I think it was good that we stayed calm and enjoyed our match. We were relaxed in a good way, and that might be the reason why we won. (KAJIWARA)

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Men's Doubles SL3-4
Katsuhiro YAMAMOTO (Osaka) / Daisuke FUJIHARA (Tokyo)

We won because we steadily carried out FUJIHARA's strategy. We were paired up for the first time and we did not practice enough before the match, but each of us was able to bring out our strengths as Singles players, including the movement and speed. I think this helped us achieve this result. (YAMAMOTO)

I won in the Singles yesterday, but I wanted to do my best to win in the Doubles as well. I'm so happy. I feel blessed to have a great partner. (FUJIHARA)

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Men's Doubles SU5+
Taiyo IMAI (Kanagawa) / Tetsuo URA (Tokyo)

I won two titles including yesterday's Singles, and I won in the Doubles for the first time. I am so happy. We won because of the lead of URA, who has many years of experience in the Doubles. I consider him my mentor. (IMAI)

IMAI and I are like a father and a son in terms of age, and I want to win the tournament with him as a pair again next year. (URA)

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Men's Doubles ID7
Rintaro NAKANO (Nagano) / Kazuya TANAKA (Tokyo)

I'm very happy to have competed together with a friend and won this tournament. I won in the Singles yesterday, but my parents told me to get two medals (Singles and Doubles). I'm really glad I was able to do it. (NAKANO)

I'm so grateful for NAKANO because he is a friend and rival, who supports me emotionally in the Doubles. I want to play with him as a pair again next year, get stronger, and win the tournament. (TANAKA)

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Women's Doubles WH1-2
Yuma YAMAZAKI (Tokyo) / Sarina SATOMI (Chiba)

Compared to Singles, I get less nervous in Doubles. It was enjoyable to compete together with SATOMI. We were able to discuss our strategy against the opponents prior to the match and carry it out steadily. I think this shows that we have grown in this past year. (YAMAZAKI)

I'm so happy that our pair won again following last year's tournament. It was a very fun tournament. I enjoyed playing because I felt safe being paired with YAMAZAKI. My goal for this past year was to gain experience. I think it has been a good year because I was able to confirm my progress in each match. (SATOMI)

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Women's Doubles ID7
Noriko UCHIDA (Aichi) / Sayaka ISHII (Nagasaki)

I achieved consecutive wins in the Singles yesterday, but this was my first time competing in the Doubles. I was very nervous at first, but I'm glad we both performed well.
Singles is a lonely battle, but I can play without worry in the Doubles because of a dependable partner. If I could compete in the Doubles again next year, I want to win the tournament. (UCHIDA)

The crowed was thrilled by the nail-biting matches of the players!

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Results of the Finals

Singles

Category Champion Runner-up 3rd / 4th place
WH1
Men's Singles
Osamu NAGASHIMA (Tokyo) Hiroshi MURAYAMA (Chiba) Keita NISHIMURA (Chiba)
Shin OHAMA (Saitama)
SU5+
Men's Singles
Taiyo IMAI (Kanagawa) Tetsuo URA (Tokyo) Hironobu KAWABATA (Ehime)
Takateru KIDOKORO (Kanagawa)
SH6
Men's Singles
Yohei HATAKEYAMA (Tokyo) Hyoga SUZUKI (Tokyo) Tomoya UENO (Tokyo)
Kaito YAMASAKI (Fukuoka)
SL4
Men's Singles
Katsuhiro YAMAMOTO (Osaka) Shunpei TAKEUCHI (Tokyo) Kaito NAKAMURA (Tokyo)
Takahito TAKEYAMA (Kanagawa)
SL3
Men's Singles
Daisuke FUJIHARA (Tokyo) Toshiaki SUENAGA (Kanagawa) Taku HIROI (Tokyo)
Yusuke YAMAGUCHI (Tokyo)
ID7
Men's Singles
Rintaro NAKANO (Nagano) Kota ONO (Kumamoto) Kazuya TANAKA (Tokyo)
Yudai MATSUZAKI (Ibaraki)
WH2
Men's Singles
Daiki KAJIWARA (Fukuoka) Atsuya WATANABE (Tokyo) Yui MOCHIZUKI (Chiba)
Takehiko MAETANI (Hiroshima)
WH2
Women's Singles
Yuma YAMAZAKI (Tokyo) Rie OGURA (Saitama) Yoko EGAMI (Shiga)
Ryoko ZUISEN (Nagasaki)
WH1
Women's Singles
Sarina SATOMI (Chiba) Ikumi FUKE (Shiga) Yayoi KAWAMORI (Nara)
Chika OTSU (Nara)
SU5+
Women's Singles
Kaede KAMEYAMA (Miyagi) Haruka FUJINO (Fukuoka) Remina SUZUKI (Miyagi)
Akiko SUGINO (Chiba)
SL3
Women's Singles
Noriko ITO (Aichi) Asami YAMADA (Fukuoka) None
ID7
Women's Singles
Noriko UCHIDA (Aichi) Anna HANAZAWA (Chiba) Renga ASAMI (Chiba)
Mio ARAKI (Nagasaki)


Doubles

Category Champion Runner-up 3rd / 4th place
WH1-2
Men's Doubles
Hiroshi MURAYAMA (Chiba)
Daiki KAJIWARA (Fukuoka)
Atsuya WATANABE (Tokyo)
Osamu NAGASHIMA (Tokyo)
Shin OHAMA (Saitama)
Tsutomu SHIMADA (Nara)

Mamoru OE (Tokyo)
Takayuki MATSUDA (Kagoshima)
SU5+
Men's Doubles
Taiyo IMAI (Kanagawa)
Tetsuo URA (Tokyo)
Yuya ITO (Tokyo)
Daichi BABA (Tokyo)
Takateru KIDOKORO (Kanagawa)
Hironobu KAWABATA (Ehime)
SL3-SL4
Men's Doubles
Katsuhiro YAMAMOTO (Osaka)
Daisuke FUJIHARA (Tokyo)
Taku HIROI (Tokyo)
Toshiaki SUENAGA (Kanagawa)
Manabu UMEDA (Tokyo)
Takeshi KIKUCHI (Tokyo)

Takahito TAKEYAMA (Kanagawa)
Takayuki TANIGUCHI (Tokyo)
ID7
Men's Doubles
Rintaro NAKANO (Nagano)
Kazuya TANAKA (Tokyo)
Chikara WATANABE (Shizuoka)
Masaya ENDO (Shizuoka)
Taisei MAEDA (Chiba)
Ryusei MAEDA (Chiba)

Naoya YAMADA (Chiba)
Yudai MATSUZAKI (Ibaraki)
WH1-2
Women's Doubles
Yuma YAMAZAKI (Tokyo)
Sarina SATOMI (Chiba)
Rie OGURA (Saitama)
Ikumi FUKE (Shiga)
Midori SHIMADA (Nara)
Yayoi KAWAMORI (Nara)

Chika OTSU (Nara)
Yoko EGAMI (Shiga)
ID7
Women's Doubles
Noriko UCHIDA (Aichi)
Sayaka ISHII (Nagasaki)
Renga ASAMI (Chiba)
Anna HANAZAWA (Chiba)
Yuka OMURA (Osaka)
Asuka KURIMARU (Fukuoka)

Miki YAMADA (Nagasaki)
Mio ARAKI (Nagasaki)

The Daihatsu Group supported the tournament together with everyone who came from across the nation!

The venue for this tournament is Chiba Port Arena, which is located a roughly 10-minute drive from JR Chiba Station. For the tournament held in Fukuoka last year, a special medal featuring the locally manufactured Kurume Kasuri in the strap section was prepared in tribute to Kurume, where the venue is located. This year, Maiwaizome, a local specialty of Kamogawa, Chiba, was used for the strap section. Kamogawa Maiwaizome Suzusen has cooperated in the production of the strap. The medal itself was manufactured by Daihatsu Metal Co., Ltd., following on from last year. The special gold, silver, and bronze medals that are only obtainable in this tournament, were given to the top three players of each class by the presenters including Soichiro OKUDAIRA, the President of Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd., and Nobuyuki AOKI, the President of Daihatsu Chiba Sales Co., Ltd. at the award ceremony held after the matches on Sunday, 15th December, 2019.
DAIHATSU, the main sponsor of the tournament, set up special booths inside the venue, including the “DAIHATSU × Badminton Cafe.” Hot drinks and sweets made with peanuts, a local specialty of Chiba, were offered to people who came to the venue. There was also a display of DAIHATSU’s welfare vehicle, the Tanto Sloper, which allows users to get into the back seat while in a wheelchair. The staff of Daihatsu Chiba Sales introduced the features of the latest welfare vehicle to people who came to the venue.

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