Although the División de Honor team is suffering more than usual and has a difficult time getting into the fight for the title, Club Badminton Oviedo has reasons to be proud of the work it does to develop young players. Six of the club’s members are in the top positions in the absolute Spanish ranking. And four of them are still young people in training.
The Spanish badminton ranking works like the ATP tennis ranking but at a national level instead of worldwide. You have to go to different competitions throughout the year to add points. Depending on their qualifying situation, players have access to competitions of different levels, with the Spanish Championship at the top of all of them.
A name stands out above all in the classifications of the Spanish Badminton Federation. It is that of Laura Álvarez, who despite only being around 18 years old has already climbed to the top of the absolute female ranking. In addition, she is second in the women’s doubles with her partner Amaia Torralba. Laura is a jewel that is about to be fully polished, although she is playing her second season with the Oviedo Division of Honor team and “that experience shows in her performance,” says César González, the entity’s sports director. Laura is a 100% product of the club, from the sports schools to the first team, including the Modernization Center.
His regular partner in the women’s double, Amaia Torralba from Navarra, is in her second season in Oviedo on loan from Estella, which has no league teams. “Personally, she is very cheerful, she has a very good character, and as a player she is super hard-working and square, she dunks herself a lot. We are very happy with her performance,” González analyzes.
The most veteran at the club is Álvaro Leal from Toledo, indefatigable in pursuit of his dream of being an Olympian. “We love him like a youth player, he feels the colors of the CBO above all else,” says César González. Leal, a member of the Modernization Center, also occupies a prominent position in the rankings twice: he is second in the mixed doubles with Paula López from Madrid and fifth in the men’s doubles with Ernesto Baschwitz, also from Madrid.
Saying Alberto Zapico is almost like saying Badminton Oviedo. A veteran by now, he started with 8 years in sports schools and went through all levels, including the Madrid High Performance Center. “He already combines his working life as a club coach with that of a player,” clarifies César González. One of her outstanding students, Belén Soto, achieved a double podium in the recent Spanish Under-13 Championship, being second in women’s doubles and third in individual. Zapico, also a classic in the national rankings (he and Lorena Uslé were number one in mixed doubles for several years), currently occupies first place in men’s doubles with Galician Javier Sánchez
The second male doubles pairing with the most points is entirely from Oviedo. It is made up of Adrián Álvarez, Laura’s brother, and Pelayo Lucas Pinto. The latter, a doubles specialist, also appears in third place on the mixed doubles list along with Carlota Viejo, another member of Oviedo, although she is no longer active. Adrián and Pelayo lead the first national team, the club’s second team, which this season has well-founded hopes of winning the league. The club has high hopes for them: “Both have already made their debut in the Division of Honor, they are the future: they are no longer there, not because of a lack of level, but because they have a lot of competition from people older than them.”