Daniel La Torre: “This 2023 a Pan American medal is a dream that I long for and to be a national champion” | badminton | Santiago 2023 | RMMD EMCC | FULL-SPORTS

In deposewe contacted him to tell us how the training is going for Santiago 2023. In addition, to find out what his goals are for this season and if he plans to go to the Olympic Games next year, which will take place in Paris.

How is the preparation for Santiago 2023 going?

I am training quite hard, for now, in the mornings, because along with the sport I also work full time. So, in the mornings, I basically train on the net court from 6:30 to 8:00. And the physical training that I have to do in the afternoons I am recovering on my own. There has been a change in the Technical Unit: a new coach named José Antonio Couto has joined; he has been my coach for a long time; however, he was directing the Regatta team. But now he has already joined the national team. So my workouts are basically with him.

Compared to Lima 2019, where you also participated, how do you feel about the preparation for Santiago?

The preseason has just started. I think that this year the preparation will be better. The selection has been reduced and therefore all of us who are part of it have the same quality of training, (which) is not something massive as it used to be before, now we are a much more specific niche. That is one of the big changes that I have seen compared to Lima 2019. For those Games, we also had the opportunity to travel to prepare. That hasn’t happened yet this year, but surely, with all the support we’ve received from the Federation, they’re going to send us to a training center outside, so we can get to Santiago in optimal conditions.

So, the Badminton Federation is complying with you…

Yes, the truth is that the support of the Federation, particularly in my case, has been constant. I have always received support, above all, for the work part. They understand that now I am working and they give me the facilities to do both things in parallel.

And in the case of the IPD?

On behalf of the IPD, I am grateful that they have renewed me this year in the PAD (Athlete Support Program). It is a very important economic subsidy, because it helps me to cover my sports-related expenses on a monthly basis, be it the purchase of equipment, rackets, strings, shoes. The truth is that badminton is a very expensive sport. And without the support of both the Federation and the IPD, I could not be where I am now.

2022 was a good year for national badminton and also for you. You managed to win 5 medals in multidisciplinary events: 2 silver in the South American Games in Asunción and 3 in the Bolivarian Games in Valledupar.

The truth is that the year ended very well with the participation of Inés (Castillo). Peru achieved the best result of a national delegation (in badminton) in the Bolivarian Games by getting 4 gold medals. It has been a great result, especially for Peru, but also for the Federation, because, once again, this highlights the great efforts that the Federation is making to support us athletes in very important tournaments.

Did you miss something last year? Something that has gotten out of hand?

I was left with a bad taste in the South American (Badminton) at the end of the year. I only won team gold without having played a single game. I have been coming off an injury that prevented me from training on a par with my teammates. The work was also a bit overwhelming and that took up a lot of my time. I have no excuse other than accepting the result and starting this 2023 with new goals.

What injury did you suffer?

As a result of an overload, I developed a synovial cyst in the posterior cruciate ligament of my right knee and that generated a lot of impact when moving around, especially in the ‘singles’ mode. Basically, I’ve been playing with my knee brace. I’ve been going to therapy. Now I am focused on generating good musculature in my leg, on being able to work a lot on my physical part, which is my Achilles heel, so that I can endure during tournaments.

In Asunción and Valledupar, you won medals in the doubles category with Diego Subauste. Are you aiming to qualify with him in doubles for Santiago 2023?

The truth is that now I am more focused on the individual. My coaches have set goals for me in the ‘singles’ modality. In this first week that we have joined, I have been training only the singles modality. However, I have been training with Diego for several years, competing with him. The truth is that it is also a possibility that I can play with him in Santiago. That is a decision that is out of my hands, it is already clearly up to the Federation, for them to decide which is the best couple. The idea is to send the best team to the Pan American Games.

How is the classification to Santiago 2023?

Now the ranking is no longer being made to send the Peruvian representatives, but it is a decision of the Technical Unit based on different variables, whether it is attendance at training, commitment, dedication, effort in training. There are a lot of factors that influence the final decision to take an athlete to a tournament or not. In 2019, when we were the venue, we had 8 places, four girls and four boys. But for this year we are going to have three boys and three girls, because that is defined in the world ranking. So, the world ranking that the girls currently have, my sister (Paula La Torre) and Inés, in the ladies’ doubles has meant that we can get three spots in both categories: men and women. But the decision of who goes to Santiago is up to the Federation, there will be no ranking.

Do you have a travel schedule or international competitions for this year?

The schedule is not yet defined (it is defined by the Federation). In my case, they have not told me in which tournaments I am going to participate in the year. I know that there is a tournament in February that is the Pan American Mixed Teams, to which the Federation is aiming a lot of bullets, because it is a very important competition due to the fact that it adds points for the world ranking. And given that we are close to the Olympic Games and the girls, Inés and Fernanda, are trying to qualify for Paris, the Federation is putting a lot of effort so that we can reach this Pan American, in my case, if that is the case. they summon me

And do you plan to try to qualify for Paris 2024?

Not really. I didn’t make it to Paris due to the fact that now my ranking is well below my direct competition at the continental level. My colleagues from other countries, from Mexico or Brazil, have already done certain championships, already have an accumulated score and are, the vast majority, below the Top 100. The competition is very tough. In order to try to qualify, you should start traveling as soon as possible until the end of the cycle (in April 2024).

And you couldn’t because you also have to work, that prevents you from focusing 100% on your sports career

Completely. Now I am working full time, from 9-6, full hours in person, not even virtual. That is an impediment for him to go abroad to compete. And to achieve an Olympic qualification, the first thing to do is travel and score points, accumulate a good ranking.

Do you require any kind of additional support from the team, perhaps financial, to continue training?

Personally, I don’t have sponsors. However, I am part of the PAD, which is actually a huge help to me. The Federation, I understand, is making a big effort to try to support us. There are many juniors who are coming after me, who also deserve an opportunity to go out and compete abroad and they will also be helping them. This makes me very happy because the Federation, once again, is making a big effort to support not only the seniors, but also the juniors and parabadminton, which are the ones that bring the best results.

Support from private companies would not hurt

Of course not.

What do you hope to achieve sportingly this 2023?

My goal for this 2023 is, God willing, to get to Santiago to play a good role there. This is a very important tournament for me, for Peru, for the Federation. If I manage to be called up, I hope to arrive in optimal condition, fully recovered from my knee and to be able to fight, as I have always done, for a Pan American medal. It is a dream that I definitely long for. I also want to be a national champion in the individual men’s category (the championship will take place in December). Last year I couldn’t play it due to my injury, but this year I hope I can win it. I hope to end 2023 with those two achievements. It would be super important to me.

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