(Photo: Federação Portuguesa de Badminton)
Bernardo Atilano: Ready to entertain the home crowd
Date: 3/8/2023 11:56 AM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
The 58 Portugal International Championships 2023 have kicked off today. We’ve talked with the host country’s top player about his goals for the tournament and the year ahead.

With a month-long break in February due to the European Mixed Team Championships, we’re now back to normal in the European Circuit with the third tournament of the year. The 58 Portugal International Championships 2023 have started today in Caldas de Rainha, at the High Performance Sports Centre of the Portuguese National Team where this year’s RSL BEC Summer School will be taking place in July.

The qualifying round will take place from today 8 until 10 March, followed by the main event from 10 until 12 March, with the finals also taking place 12 March. You can watch all matches live here

The pressure of Kraków 2023 and Paris 2024
The month of March is the start of a busy period with crucial wins to earn — while the end of the qualification period for the European Games is close to an end, the start of the qualification period for the 2024 Olympic Games is less than two months away. The pressure is definitely on. 

Besides the YONEX German Open 2023, this week many Europeans will also try to win points in Portugal. One of the many trying to secure their ticket to Krakow is Bernardo Atilano.

“Since the ranking will close in two weeks, my priority is to qualify for the European Games in Poland and also for my third World Championships qualification. The Olympic year will start in less than two months, so one of my goals is to continue with my current World Ranking and always want more,” stated the Portuguese player.

Playing on home soil, always special
Atilano is the top seed in men’s singles at the Portugal International. The athlete knows what his focus will be in this home tournament. “My goal will be and always has been to give my absolute best, perform well and, if possible, give joy to the Portuguese team and federation.”

The feeling before this competition is obviously different, as it always is when playing on home soil. “Playing on home soil is always special because my friends and family can come to watch, and I can show my level and my development in front of the Portuguese crowd. It’s always amazing.”

Training hard
The 58 Portugal International Championships will be the first European Circuit tournament of the year for Atilano but Portugal's six-times national champion has been preparing for the year ahead with intense training and a trip to Tehran for the 31st Iran Fajr International Challenge 2023.

“The level was really good and strong in Iran so getting to the third round and losing against the winner of the tournament was good, despite the result. In the second round, I won against a Malaysian player that had performed really well in Asia and Europe, so I was happy about it,” explained Atilano about his performance and his matches agains Malaysia’s Chua Kim Sheng and Indonesia’s Syabda Perkasa Belawa in his first international tournament of the year.

With the pressure of qualifying for the huge upcoming events, there’s no time to lose when it comes to preparing. “The training sessions have been tough — gym and court sessions with good intensity. I spent a week in Switzerland training with the national team two weeks ago. We had some tough practice sessions, so it was a great week for me with an amazing group.”

Atilano will be first stepping on court on Friday 10 to face France’s Enogat Roy. To check all upcoming matches and draws, click here
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