(Photo: Bulgarian Badminton Federation)
Another important step for Nalbantova
Date: 10/10/2022 9:50 AM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
The reigning European Junior and U17 champion has won two medals at the Bulgarian International Championship 2022.

Just like in many other European Circuit tournaments, Chinese Taipei took over the Bulgarian International Championship with all players except two in the semifinals being from that country. The exception was the host country’s young talent Kaloyana Nalbantova and Ukraine’s Polina Buhrova.

Nalbantova won the 2021 European U17 Championships and just a year later, less than two months ago, took the title in the European Junior Championships. “I feel very happy about my second European title. This motivates me for the upcoming tournaments because after the second title I understood that I can fight for the victory no matter how good the opponent could be”, Nalbantova said about her win in Serbia.

Last year, Nalbantova also reached the semifinals in the women’s singles event at the Bulgarian International Championship. Playing on home soil is always special. “I was very happy to play this tournament in my hall. It was emotional to play in front of the Bulgarian audience and at the same time, I was also so nervous”, the European Junior champion said.

For this year’s edition, the player also competed in women’s doubles, partnering with another European promising young player, Ukraine’s Polina Buhrova. “This partnership came about after the European Junior Championships. Our federation received a message from the Ukrainian Federation asking if I wanted to play doubles with her, and we decided to give it a try. After that, she came here to Bulgaria to train for two weeks and we had a chance to play two tournaments together — Zagreb International and Bulgarian International”, the Bulgarian player explained.

The pair reached the semifinals and lost there to Lin Chih-Chun/ Wu Meng Chen, therefore winning a bronze medal. “I’m so happy about our women’s doubles medal because we didn’t have a lot of time to train, but we made it work and got to win a medal”, Nalbantova added.

Just like the Bulgarian player, Polina Buhrova also competed in the singles event. The top seeded player reached the quarterfinals where she lost to Huang Yu-Hsun, Chinese Taipei, in three games.

"In my women's singles performance, I started very well but lost focus on the game later on. I saw many things which I need to correct. That is not a problem, it just pushes me to go ahead and keep my mind in the game, because my skills and capabilities have shown that good and solid wins are possible", Buhrova explained.

For Nalbantova, the singles event started off with two matches, one of them being an hour-long match against Lin Hsian Ti, Chinese Taipei. She got to secure a win against England’s Michelle Ting in straight games and despite pushing the match to three games against Lin Sih Yun, Chinese Taipei, Nalbantova could not move forward to fight for the gold.

The European Junior champion has secured two medals on home soil and sees these wins in the European Senior Circuit as a crucial stage of her career. “This was a really good experience because I’m still young, and this is one of my first steps in the senior circuit”, Nalbantova concluded.

The World Junior Championships are just some weeks away and that is the main focus for many of our young European talents. "Nalbantova and I haven't been playing together for that long but we will try and be ready for World Junior Championships in Santander which will be soon. We are doing good and we are ready to compete", Buhrova stated.
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