In a quest for qualification and a historic triumph, the Turkish women’s badminton national team sets its sights on the Europe Teams Championship Finals.
Scheduled to take place in Sofia, Bulgaria, from tomorrow to Sunday, the team is eager to make a mark on the international stage.
Grouped alongside Ukraine and Greenland, the Turkish players anticipate fierce competition.
Success in these group matches is pivotal, as it will determine their clash with the winner of the group consisting of Bulgaria, Latvia and Ireland.
The ultimate goal is to secure a coveted spot in the finals and bring home Türkiye’s first medal in the senior category of this prestigious championship.
Leading the national team, Head Coach Barış Boyar, alongside star athletes Özge Bayrak, Nazlıcan Inci and Zehra Erdem, shared insights into their preparations with Anadolu Agency (AA) ahead of the qualifiers.
Turkish badminton team trains ahead of the European Championship Finals, Istanbul, Türkiye, Dec. 5, 2023. (AA Photo)
Boyar expressed satisfaction with the training camp in Ankara, saying, “Our players are highly motivated. Our primary aim is to advance from the groups in the European Championships and reach the finals.”
He emphasized the historical significance of aiming for a team medal, following the individual successes of Özge Bayrak and Neslihan Yiğit Arın in previous European Championships.
“We have been working towards achieving a team medal as well. Hopefully, we succeed and if we win, it will be our first team medal,” he said.
Highlighting the team’s strong foundation, Boyar remarked, “Our potential in badminton is very high. There’s a great synergy with the new management. Our young athletes have ambitious goals. We aim to combine the success of the younger age groups with the seniors. We have succeeded with women’s teams in the under-17 and under-19 categories. Our goal is to increase the number of Olympic athletes and represent our country with more athletes in the Olympics. Winning a medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics may seem challenging at the moment. Our goal is to advance from the groups, as the Olympics is truly a massive process. We continue to work towards this, especially scouting young talent for Olympic representation.”
Özge Bayrak, who shared a joint training camp with the men’s national team, expressed confidence in the team’s ability to emerge as group leaders. “Our current focus is on topping the group ahead of the European Championship Finals. We have two challenging matches ahead, against Ukraine and Bulgaria. We aim to win both and qualify for the finals.”
As one of the two athletes who secured individual medals for Türkiye in the previous European Championships, Bayrak conveyed her determination: “Every team championship we attend, we genuinely aim to win a medal. That’s our goal. Hopefully, this time, we break new ground and return to our country with a medal.”
Nazlıcan İnci, discussing the team’s rigorous preparation with double training sessions daily, expressed optimism about their chances of advancing from the group.
“We believe we will qualify from the group, and Bulgaria will also emerge from the other group. Our potential match against Bulgaria will be tough, but I believe we can win. We are eager to reach the finals. Compared to previous years, I see the team as stronger. We’ll strive for success with a good draw,” she said.
Assessing her individual performance, Nazlıcan stated, “Unfortunately, in 2022, we couldn’t participate in any tournaments. In 2023, I feel that I have improved my performance in every tournament. I’ve given my all in preparation and I believe I’ll reflect that in the matches. Qualifying for the Olympics in women’s doubles is a bit challenging due to the reduction in quota numbers worldwide. We will also push ourselves and aim to achieve a first there.”
Zehra Erdem, highlighting the team’s readiness, stated, “We are heading to the qualifiers in excellent shape as a team. We have group matches ahead against Greenland and Ukraine. If we defeat them, we will face the winner of the other group in the finals. We must win that match too. We need to qualify for the European Championship Finals in Poland. I believe we are a very strong team, and in Poland, we will achieve our goal of winning our first medal. We are undergoing rigorous preparation camps during this process. There’s mutual trust within the team. I have confidence that we will achieve good results. Both our singles and doubles players are progressing strongly. We will bring our past experiences to the field and deliver a solid performance.”
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