It was hardly the opening match which he would have wanted but a clash against the reigning world champion in the Short Stature 6 class of the Dubai Para-Badminton International, but such a draw becomes second nature for the Alpha two-times World and European champion Niall McVeigh as he continues his build-up to the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.
Niall is sometimes a relatively slow starter and he never really recovered from going 5-2 down in the opening set to England’s Jack Shephard who was seeded No1and had lifted the coveted World title in November overcoming his training partner Krysten Coombs.
Niall though fought back and seemed poised to launch a challenge in the second half of the first set from 11-7 in arrears at the interval. However, it was Shephard who was to race to the opening set 21-13 and found it difficult to get off the mark in the second as the top seed took control.
Typically though Niall responded to dominate his second match in Group A with a straightforward two-set win over Sunil Pradhan (India), a victory which was to seal his place in the quarter-final, though facing your doubles partner is hardly the preparation for a key doubles match either.
Niall, however, could hardly have got off to a more difficult start against Didin Taresoh for after taking a 5-1 lead it was his opponent who was to take control and raced to the opening set before McVeigh settled down into the type of consistency he has been showing of late.
In the second he was never out of contention from drawing level at one set all, only to see Taresoh snatch the set 25-23 after McVeigh held a one-point advantage at 21-20 and again at 23-22.
Taresoh and McVeigh were to get their men’s doubles bid off to a fine start with a consummate 21-3 21-10 victory over Gagandeep Grewal and Hector Tunque in Group B only to lose to the No2 seeds Man Kai Chu and Chun Yim Wong in straight sets.
The opening set saw the Hong Kong pair dominate the opening set but the second saw McVeigh and Taresoh enjoy an early lead at 5-1 but from 6-6 there was no holding their opponents, who were runners-up in the Spanish International back in March and had surprised the English top seeds of Coombs and Shephard to take the World title last November.
A bronze medal in the men’s doubles will, however, be a welcome addition to his haul of medals as he looks forward to a busy schedule of competition in the next twelve months with the 4th Turkish International getting underway early next month and with his victor, Taresoh having knocked out the No2 seeded Krysten Coombs 21-18 in the decider and taken the eventual champion Shephard to 21-7 24-22 in the final then the Irish No1 need not be despondent in any way.
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