Sights on Tokyo

Australian para-badminton champion Luke Missen is already looking forward to the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. Photo: Badminton Victoria

Australian para-badminton champion Luke Missen is already looking forward to the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. Photo: Badminton Victoria

TWO Australian national titles and success at the world championships in England in 2015 have set-up Luke Missen to be a powerhouse in para-badminton.

Since he began playing the sport two and a half years ago, Missen said he'd seen the sport get bigger in Australia.

He plays in the short stature classification, and already has his eye on major tournaments in Thailand, Canada, and South Korea, as well as the 2020 Paralympics, which will include the sport for the first time.

Missen trains in Sale and plays twice a week in the Sale-Maffra Badminton Association, and said while para-badminton was new to them, he was well-supported.

"I can play in the able-bodied competition, and it's no different, there's no holding back," he said.

Para-badminton is played with the same rules as the able-bodied sport but with simplified scoring, and has two wheelchair and three standing classifications, as well as short statured.

Missen's priority for 2017, he said, is training for the World Dwarf Games in Toronto, where he will also be playing basketball for Australia.

To prepare, he will be heading to Thailand in May for the international championships, which are a step below the Worlds.

"It'll be interesting to see where I'll be at," he said.

"Tokyo 2020 is the absolute goal, there's just a few things - they're working out the classifications at the moment."

Anyone who was interested in playing, or knew someone who might be keen, should get involved at the Sale Badminton Association.

"We're always looking for people of different ability for the different classifications, though it is mainly played in Melbourne at this stage," he said.

Badminton is played in Sale at the stadium on the corner of Cobains Rd and Somerton Park Rd on Monday and Wednesday nights.

Gippsland Senior
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