The sport that emerged from nothing

As if it were a ritual, a routine similar to when Nadal gets another Roland Garros, the networks were filled yesterday with congratulations to Carolina Marín for her third World Cup. “Unmatched by work, ability to excel and passion for badminton,” summarized the Royal House. «Historical Carolina Marín. If winning a World Cup is already difficult, doing it three times is brutal! “Exclaimed another myth of Spanish sport, none other than Pau Gasol.

Spain has become accustomed, blessed custom, to the victories of Carolina in a game that, however, barely has 7,789 chips in Spain. In fact, it occupies the 46th place in the national ranking of sports by a number of federated, behind federations such as petanque, greyhounds, speleology or bowling.

It’s easy to start playing

caroline marineThe successes of Carolina have encouraged many young people in recent years. Since Huelva won its first championship, the European 2014, the chips have increased by almost a thousand. One of those recent additions to the elite is that of Claudia Leal, who has just started coming of age: “Badminton is very easy to start playing and you enjoy it right away. The difficult thing is to take the technique and learn certain blows “, explains this Toledo who shares successes with her brother Álvaro, who recognizes that he started with football:” I decided for badminton for travel, you go all over Spain, “he says.

“I like the speed with which it is played and I find it very funny,” says the also Toledano Kike Peñalver, 22 years, 115 of the world and second Spanish in the ranking behind Pablo Abián. Kike is part of another family of badminton players, since his sister Sara, 19 years old in August, is the 122nd and fourth Spanish behind Carolina Marín, Beatriz Corrales and Clara Azurmendi. “It is a sport that is renewing itself and in which there are always many things to learn. There were several years in which I combined it with dancing, but I left it because I was bored, “ends the little Peñalver, another of the young promises that grow in the increasingly fertile hotbed of badminton.

Although the number of practitioners has doubled so far this century (there were 4,400 licenses in 2001), it is still a relative minority sport and unknown in our country. The Federation is striving to get the most out of Carolina’s pull, but there is still a long way to go to approach the power of Asian countries. For example, in China, which has hosted this World Championship, the number of licenses exceeds 100 million. It is estimated that among all Asian countries the number of practitioners is 200 million, making badminton one of the most popular specialties on the planet. And as it has been able to verify during these days, Carolina Marín and the rest of great stars are venerated by the Asians as if they were football figures. The retransmissions are the most followed and the sponsors are raffled to the main figures.

 

Wanted champion

In our country lack adequate facilities, but above all, more trained technicians such as Fernando Rivas, who discovered the World champion when she was 14 years old. “I saw a potential champion for her body language, for her attitude, for her fight,” says Rivas. Since then, the key has been a lot of daily sacrifices: “We at the badminton are the first to arrive and the last ones to leave the training,” he adds.

So the recipe is sacrifice, tenacity, good coaches and projects like “Wanted champion” , a project that has created the Federation to try to capture new stars. In the last concentration held in June with the sponsorship of Iberdrola, 24 players were selected, among them some under thirteen, from which the new Carolinas must leave.