Egypt's Shaimaa Abdellatif is all smiles after reaching the semi-finals. Image Credit: Fazza LOC Media / Yahya Essa

Dubai: Egypt’s Shaimaa Samy Abdellatif moved one step ahead towards her dream – to become first shuttler from Arab countries to win a gold medal at a major championship – after she reached the semi-finals of the 4th Fazza Dubai Para badminton International 2022 here.

Abdellatif battled past Elke Rongen of Germany with 21-19, 20-22, 21-15 win in 53 minutes. “It was a difficult match. Last time she beat me in Uganda International 2021, so I was a bit worried before the match. And I tried very hard. I tried to do everything I had done during my training. And luckily, I managed to pull it off. All these wins will push me a step ahead towards my goal. I am so proud of myself,” said the top seed Abdellatif.

The 41-year-old, who has been the face of wheelchair tennis in the country for the last decade and has also played and won medals in Para Athletics, is keenly looking forward to her semi-final match against Korean Kwon Hyunah and hopes to reach the final.

Up to fifth

Abdellatif, who has a gold in WH1-WH2 mixed doubles at the Uganda International 2021 and singles silver and bronze in Spain Internationals this year, is now hoping to make the cut for the World Championships after Friday’s win had lifted her to the fifth in world rankings.

“I want to win a medal at the World Championships. Like I did in Para Athletics, I want to make history in a new sport - Para Badminton and raise the popularity of the sport in Egypt, also in Arab and African countries. Para Badminton is a new sport in Africa and we are still working on developing a pool of young para shuttlers in our country,” said the shuttler from Cairo who added saying that Egypt now has around 30 women para shuttlers.

Elsewhere, India’s Paralympic gold medallist Pramod Bhagat came back from a game down to defeat fellow junior Nehal Gupta in the men’s singles SL3 quarter-finals.

Malaysia’s Paralympic champion Cheah Liek Hou rediscovered his rhythm after reaching the men’s singles SU5 semi-finals with a thrilling 23-21, 21-23, 21-11 win over his compatriot Mohamad Faris Ahmad Azri, who is also the former men’s doubles partner.

In the other SU5 semi-finals, Indonesian bronze medallist Suryo Nugroho will fight it out against Japan’s Taiyo Imai for a place in the final.

Three Indians

The women’s SL3 semi-final line up has three Indians with reigning world champion Manasi Joshi set to face Australia’s Celine Aurelie Vinot while upcoming Mandeep Kaur will play experienced Parul Parmar in the other semi-final.

In the women’s SU5 semi-finals, Japan’s Paralympic bronze medallist Akiko Sugino will face compatriot Kaede Kameyama, while India’s Ramadass faces Cathrine Rosengren of Denmark.

Japan will also have Paralympic gold medallist and top seed Yuma Yamazaki playing one of the semi-finals against Amnouy Wetwithan in women’s singles WH2.