Spanish badminton has already started the new cycle with the goal set for the Paralympic Games in Paris 2024. The players of the team, a mixture of veteran and youth, will fight to get the ticket for the French event. Among them are Nacho Fernández and Paco Motero, two promising midfielders who have reached the podium at the Ireland International held in Dublin.
Last March, the Galician athlete debuted his record in the elite with a bronze at the Open de Vitoria and has now won the gold medal in the mixed doubles category WH1-WH2. Fernández, who has been champion of Spain for three consecutive years, signed a full victories forming a pair with the Austrian Henriett Koosz.
In the first match they beat India’s Abu Hubaida and Finland’s Heidi Manninen 21-13 and 21-18. They then beat the Canadians Mikhail Bilenki and Yuka Chokyu 21-11 and 21-10, and secured the gold medal after coming back (18-21, 21-16 and 21-16) against the Andalusian Paco Motero and the French Marilou Maurel.
“In individual I couldn’t play as I would have liked because I didn’t have my wheelchair since the Iberia company had lost it. But in mixed doubles I have felt good, we have offered a good level of play and we have won all the matches. The sensations have been positive, we continue on that ascending line, gaining technique in training and then exemplifying it in the championships. Playing these tournaments in the highest category of badminton and with the best is a spectacle”, commented the Club Athlos athlete.
The man from Ourense has made a leap in the last season and has settled among the 24 best in the world in WH2. “At the national level we are strong, but internationally there is still a long way to go. I have qualified for the World Cup in three modalities and my expectations are to train hard at my club to continue growing, reach the level of certain players and dream of going to the Paralympic Games”, he added.
The other medal for Spain came from Paco Motero, also in mixed doubles. The Huelva native, number 21 in the world in WH1, won the bronze with the French player Maurel after the 21-18 and 21-17 win against the Canadian duo Bilenki-Chokyu. “Entering a level 1 tournament, in which only the top 12 ranked players are, is quite good. In singles I didn’t get out of the group, in men’s doubles with Nacho we won a match and got extra points. While in mixed I have played for the first time with the French, it has been a nice experience and I take a bronze that always adds up ”, he stressed.
Both hope to do well in the World Cup to be held in November in Tokyo. The Spanish team will also have Iván Segura, Cristina Sánchez de Lechina, Jordi Carrión and Jorge López in Japan. And it could have one more representative since once the national federations confirm their participants, it may be the case that Pablo Serrano also achieves a position to compete. Before that there will be two international tests in Thailand and Uganda.