Toma Junior Popov Advances in European Badminton Championships Amidst Olympic Qualification Pressure

Toma Junior Popov will remember this Thursday, April 11, 2024 to European Badminton Championships.

After a big disappointment in men’s doubles with his brother Christo at the start of the day, Tomi had to get motivated to play singles again a few hours later. He won in three sets (17-21, 21-16, 21-14) against the Dutch player Joran Kweekel (111th in the world) in the round of 16.

In this Olympic year, this is the last competition before the publication of the ranking list for the race to Paris 2024 of the Badminton World Federation (BWF), on April 30. For French badistas, this sporting event is therefore decisive in hoping for qualification, particularly in men’s singles, where the Popov brothers are in direct competition for the only Olympic quota* available among Blues.

The elder ranked 25th in the world, who is slightly behind in the rankings in the Race to Pariscan therefore still hope to double Christo if he reaches his first individual European final this Sunday April 14 in Saarbrücken, Germany.

But to do this, Toma Junior will have to tighten up his game to avoid being scared again. Because if he started as a clear favorite on paper against Kweekel given their respective world rankings, the Frenchman fell behind by five points several times in the first set. Despite his partially rewarded efforts to try to catch up, his delay was too great.

“At the break between the first and second [set], I spoke with my father and he said to me ‘You understand how to play’. Because at the end of the 1st I played much better than at the beginning, where it was a bit… messy,” confided Tomi at the microphone as the French Badminton Federation at the end of the meeting.

The start of the second round was tight (4-4), but T.J. Popov was able to reverse the trend by taking a little lead to reassure himself (10-7). But Kweelkel, who had not said his last word, did not give up until returning to 14-14. The French badista then regained the advantage to equalize at one set all.

In the third round, the French badista quickly took the lead without ever allowing his opponent to come back to qualify for the quarter-finals.

And if the defeat of the brothers Popov earlier in the day in the men’s doubles, an event in which they hoped to shake up the French hierarchy against the pair Labar-Corvéeserved as additional motivation to Tomi ?

While waiting for the verdict of the next round, discover the hot reaction of Toma Junior Popov after his emotional day.

*The National Olympic Committees (NOCs) being the only authorities authorized to determine who will represent their country at the Olympic Games, the participation of each French athlete in the Paris 2024 Games will in fact be the responsibility of the Olympic Selections Advisory Commission (CCSO) of the Committee. National Olympic and French Sportsman (CNOSF), which will select its national delegation in Paris.

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2024-04-11 07:00:00
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