Macarena Izquierdo (Ibiza, 30-03-2006) was this weekend the real leader of the Spanish representation at the Spanish International U15 & U17 badminton tournament held at the Sa Blanca Dona pavilion. The young player from Ibiza, 16 years old, won the mixed doubles title together with Yaidel Gil and the silver medal in the individual tournament. After leading the European junior women’s doubles ranking for months together with Carmen Jiménez, the Ibiza Badminton Club player has set herself the challenge of conquering the 2024 European Championship and qualifying for her first World Championship.

What has it meant to win gold and silver at home in a prestigious tournament like the Spanish International held on the island?

I am very happy. The last time we won was in women’s doubles in a tournament in Belgium. Now I am focusing on doubles, which is what I like the most. In singles I finished second and it was exciting, it makes me want to keep fighting for the next tournaments and for the Spanish Badminton Championship. I am very happy to have played for the first time with Yaidel Gil, who is two years younger. We have got on very well and we are a strong couple for the next tournaments.

Five of the 14 medals for Spain have had an Ibizan flavor. Is the island confirmed as one of the best badminton squads in the country?

Yes, the truth is yes. Ibiza is going strong, before it was nothing but I would say that we have some of the best clubs in Spain. Many people are now trying it out and we have more help, although we would need more. Thanks to the ‘escoletas’ and the promotion and the work of the coaches we get more kids to sign up so the sport doesn’t die. We have big teams with people of different ages, we do a great job on Ibiza and we are like a family.

For the younger players, what does it mean that Ibiza is the scene of three international badminton events in a row?

This has never been seen before, it is incredible, first was the Iberdrola for the seniors that came with a lot of people from abroad, then the International U17 and now the best of all which is the European U15, for which we have an incredible preparation. What this is going to do is to make Ibiza’s badminton more visible and known worldwide because people come from all over the world.

Does Ibiza have favorites for the European badminton podium?

Yaidel Gil has a good chance to win, many good players are coming to participate. Álex Tur (medalist in the Spanish International) and Sofía García will also have chances. It would be nice if there were more people in the pavilion, at the weekend there were enough fans from the island and now for the European Championship there will be many teams and families from abroad.

How long have you been passionate about badminton?

I started when I was 8 years old, a friend of mine signed up and told me that I should try it because I am very hyperactive, I was going to end up tired. I tried it and I loved it, my mother said I was going to get bored, because I was bored of everything, but I really liked it and I’m still fighting to be the best.

Despite being so young, you have already accumulated many medals at national and international level.

Yes, about three weeks ago we got the team bronze at the European Championship in Serbia, and I have won internationals in Slovenia and Belgium, where we returned after the break due to covid and we swept field. I have won at the national level and won medals in Spanish championships in different categories. What I like most is to travel and if you do it with the people you love the most, it is the best.

In fact, you have been number 1 in the European junior women’s doubles ranking, is there a limit to what you can acheive in badminton?

I do not know if we are still first but we have been for a while. Right now I want to stay in badminton. Before I didn’t know how long I would stay, also thinking about my studies, but after the European Championship I had a bitter feeling after losing in the first round of singles. The next one is not for another two years from now and I would like to win the individual and team European Championships. I would also like to go to the World Championship that same year. For the European Championship there are many possibilities and I have good expectations for the World Championship.

Is following Carolina Marin’s steps a goal for you?

I think it is not impossible to achieve what she did, but you have to put in a lot of hours and know what you want. It is something that not everyone can achieve, you have to be special. I know I’m not going to dedicate my whole life to it, I have to continue my studies and it is very complicated, but I will fight as far as I can to get everything I can, and if it is to win another Spanish Championship or a European Championship, I’ll welcome it.

For the full article, please visit Diario de Ibiza website here.