Misha Zilberman at the 2016 Olympics (Credit: Badminton Photo)
"I was writing history"
Date: 6/19/2019 9:51 AM
Published by : Annika Langrock
In less than one week, badminton will be getting underway at the European Games 2019 in Minsk.

Competing in the Men’s Singles and Mixed Doubles, Misha Zilberman from Israel revealed his expectations for the biggest multi-sports event in Europe in a ‘Question & Answer’ session.

Misha, next to participating in the last European Games, you already participated in two Olympics. What is different at the European Games?

Zilberman: The European Games are similar to the Olympic Games. All athletes are living in a village. This time, the European Games will be as strong as the European Championships in badminton, as players can collect world ranking points. It is the most important tournament in Europe this year. It will be interesting to play there. 

At the Olympics 2012, you were the first Israeli player to compete in badminton. In 2016, you were responsible for Israel’s first win in badminton.   

Zilberman: I was writing history for my country. This was so amazing. I am getting a lot of support from the Israeli Olympic Committee because they see how these results improve badminton in Israel. Of course, they want to see me playing in Tokyo 2020 as well. But first, I need to qualify and then, I want to do even better than in Rio. 

You were born in Russia but grew up in Israel. What does it mean for you to represent Israel at the European Games?

Zilberman: I was born in Russia. When I was two years old, I moved with my family to Israel. Representing Israel at the European Games feels awesome. I am honoured but I also have a lot of responsibility. Especially young players from Israel will watch me in Minsk. My goal is to motivate them and to grow badminton in Israel. So, I want to do my best there. 

You will also compete in the Mixed Doubles with your mum. How is to play with your mum in Minsk?

Zilberman: I am used to playing with my mum. It is easy to play with her; we always understand each other. Others might think that it is strange or different, but for us it is completely normal. We play together for many years now. We actually did not plan to qualify for Minsk, but we did because of our good ranking. It will be amazing to play with her at the European Games. My mum started her career in Belarus and now she comes back. That must mean something. 

What are your goals for the European Games in Minsk?

Zilberman: We do not have a specific goal in the Mixed Doubles, we just want to show our best and try to win. If we can win one match, that would be amazing. Maybe, we can finish second in the group. Reaching the knock-out stage would be an incredible result for us but we want to enjoy every match. I will focus more on my Singles, where I want to try to advance in the tournament.  
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