(Photo: Badminton Spain)
An emotional roller coaster for the home audience
Date: 4/25/2022 9:15 AM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
The first day of the 2022 European Championships gave us half a day of great badminton to get the party started. Two of the home stars had the audience on the edge of their seats. 

It was finally time, and today at 17:00 the Gallur Sports Hall in Madrid opened its doors to welcome players, fans, referees, umpires, volunteers, staff, and more to what was a lively opening day for the 2022 European Championships.

The day saw men’s and women’s singles players competing to make it to the second round of the event. Centre of Excellence players Martina Repiska, Maxime Moreels, and Milan Dratva got to play, and the latter secured a spot in tomorrow’s matches with a win against Estonia’s Karl Kert.

Support point after point
The moment when you could really feel that the audience was back at the European Championships was when the two Spanish stars that were to compete today came on court. The fierce fight they showed also demonstrated how important these matches on home soil were to them.

Clara Azurmendi was up against Bulgaria’s Mariya Mitsova, who this year has already reached two quarterfinals in the European Circuit. It was a close start to the first game, but the Bulgarian player took it eventually. Azurmendi came back stronger in the second game, but ended up losing the decider. 

Beatriz Corrales’s first game had an even closer result. Ksenia Polikarpova was leading 22-20, and despite the Spaniard mentioning not being comfortable with the shuttle throughout the match, she got to hit back and take the win.

- I just want to thank the big crowd, it was amazing. At every point, even when I was just doing an easy mistake, they were supporting me a lot, Corrales thanked her fans.

After every shot, no matter if it was a win or a lost point for the Spaniards, the local crowd could be heard cheering and shouting encouraging words from the stands. It’s no surprise that Corrales found the strength to keep on going in such a tough encounter, just like Azurmendi did despite losing.

- The atmosphere has been amazing. Madrid is my hometown, so what can I say. I’ll keep going and keep fighting in the next matches tomorrow, also with Clara, Corrales said.

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