‘Ygor’ for Success in Tokyo!

Three years ago, a fresh-faced, samba-swaying young man from Brazil became badminton’s poster boy for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – promoting the sport and engaging fans as much with his sunshine smile and personality as with his on-court bravado versus veterans like Marc Zwiebler and Scott Evans.

Ygor Coelho’s story was compelling: a bright spark who emerged from one of Brazil’s favelas, where his father coached badminton, to become among his country and continent’s best prospects in a sport not well entrenched in the region.

Ygor was the star attraction for the home crowd in Rio.

Now, three years on from South America’s first Olympics, Coelho’s stock has risen as he trains and competes in Europe – and who can forget him knocking India’s HS Prannoy out of last year’s World Championships to reach the men’s singles third round!

As players gear up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, we catch up with the 22-year-old who is determined to show he is the real deal!

It’s time for another Olympic qualification. How has your preparation gone?

It’s going well, I’ve been training since last year with Nadia Lyduch and I’m playing for Højbjerg Badminton Club and training at National Center 2 in Denmark. I think I am in good shape right now.

Ygor in action in Rio.

Outline your progress since the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

I trained for two years in France with Peter Gade, Jesper Hovgaard, Thibault Cambuzat and Junling Zhou as coaches. Since August last year, I have been practising with Michael Kjeldsen, Sven Sørensen, Qian Zhang and Nadia Lyduch in Denmark.

How much have you improved as a player? Can you give an example?

After the Olympics I wanted to be Top 50 in the world, but Zhou changed my way of thinking and made me dream of being in the Top 30. In 2018, I achieved this goal and I discovered I had talent but I didn’t know how to work to achieve more. Now Nadia is teaching me how to become even better.

Nadia and I are focused on the technical aspects of my game – footwork and more deceptive shots. I think Nadia a really smart coach and I trust in the process, and I’m really looking forward to the challenges this year. I want to get a medal at the Pan American Games in Lima.

Also, I have support from my national team in Brazil and I’m working on improving physically and regarding nutrition. Doctors and physical coaches are making a difference in my badminton.

You were the badminton poster boy for Rio 2016. What are your memories from that tournament as a player – and as a Brazilian?

Playing at home was amazing! Every single player in each sport wants to play in the Olympics but to do that at home is a special feeling. All my friends, family and teammates could see my dream coming true in Brazil.

How do you think badminton is seen in Brazil now, following Rio 2016?

I think a lot of new badminton clubs started in Brazil after the Olympics. Badminton is becoming more popular. It is always great to see more people in my country playing this amazing sport.

What are your goals for Tokyo 2020?

My goals for the Tokyo Olympics are, first of all, to qualify for the Olympics and then to try to get out of the group stage.

Olympic and Paralympic News

New Dates Announced for Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics

New Dates Announced for Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics

30 March 2020
BWF Responds to Tokyo 2020 Postponement

BWF Responds to Tokyo 2020 Postponement

25 March 2020
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Postponed

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Postponed

24 March 2020
COVID-19 Leads to Suspension of Further Events

COVID-19 Leads to Suspension of Further Events

20 March 2020
IOC Issues Communique on Tokyo 2020

IOC Issues Communique on Tokyo 2020

18 March 2020
‘Scarred’ Momota Dreaming of Olympic Glory Again

‘Scarred’ Momota Dreaming of Olympic Glory Again

9 March 2020
Badminton Asia Championships Moved To Manila

Badminton Asia Championships Moved To Manila

4 March 2020
IOC President Confident of Successful Olympics

IOC President Confident of Successful Olympics

4 March 2020
Olympic Qualifier in Portugal Called Off

Olympic Qualifier in Portugal Called Off

2 March 2020
‘Big Teams Are Taking Us More Seriously’

‘Big Teams Are Taking Us More Seriously’

28 February 2020
BWF Statement on Postponement of Vietnam International Challenge

BWF Statement on Postponement of Vietnam International Challenge

25 February 2020
Countdown to Glory – Five Months to Go

Countdown to Glory – Five Months to Go

25 February 2020
‘She Thought I was Joking About Pairing Up’

‘She Thought I was Joking About Pairing Up’

19 February 2020
Bold Predictions for 2020

Bold Predictions for 2020

15 February 2020
Sindhu’s New Strength is her Presence of Mind

Sindhu’s New Strength is her Presence of Mind

13 February 2020
Beyond the Numbers Game

Beyond the Numbers Game

12 February 2020
Sabrina Jaquet: Seeking Rhythm

Sabrina Jaquet: Seeking Rhythm

11 February 2020
Ho-Shue: Primed for a Twin Challenge

Ho-Shue: Primed for a Twin Challenge

7 February 2020
Mahmoud Hangs On Despite Challenges

Mahmoud Hangs On Despite Challenges

3 February 2020
BWF Statement on Postponement of Lingshui China Masters

BWF Statement on Postponement of Lingshui China Masters

1 February 2020
Gicquel & Delrue: Rapid Ascent

Gicquel & Delrue: Rapid Ascent

30 January 2020
Thai Triumph Provides Fillip for Ellis & Smith in Olympic Year

Thai Triumph Provides Fillip for Ellis & Smith in Olympic Year

28 January 2020
A Leap Up for Thygesen & Fruergaard

A Leap Up for Thygesen & Fruergaard

22 January 2020
Tokyo Legends Inspiring Current Stars

Tokyo Legends Inspiring Current Stars

21 December 2019
Stoevas Seek Form After Disruption

Stoevas Seek Form After Disruption

25 November 2019
Olympic Champ Carolina Marin Returns

Olympic Champ Carolina Marin Returns

11 September 2019
Pan Am Champs Seek to Sharpen Skills

Pan Am Champs Seek to Sharpen Skills

5 September 2019
IOC President Fascinated with Badminton Finals

IOC President Fascinated with Badminton Finals

29 August 2019
Miyuki Maeda Revels in New Role

Miyuki Maeda Revels in New Role

9 August 2019
Olympic Fever in Tokyo

Olympic Fever in Tokyo

27 July 2019
One Year To Tokyo 2020: Players’ Thumbs-Up for Olympics Venue

One Year To Tokyo 2020: Players’ Thumbs-Up for Olympics Venue

24 July 2019
Olympic Dreams Spur On Refugee Champ Mahmoud

Olympic Dreams Spur On Refugee Champ Mahmoud

12 July 2019
Aram Mahmoud Receives IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship

Aram Mahmoud Receives IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship

21 June 2019
Michelle Li – Playing with Pain on Road to Tokyo

Michelle Li – Playing with Pain on Road to Tokyo

11 June 2019
‘Competition Against Great Players Brought Out Best in Me’ – Bang Soo Hyun

‘Competition Against Great Players Brought Out Best in Me’ – Bang Soo...

6 June 2019
What We Have Learned – Road To Tokyo

What We Have Learned – Road To Tokyo

29 May 2019
Timely Reward for Christie

Timely Reward for Christie

6 May 2019
And They’re Off!

And They’re Off!

29 April 2019
Fighting To Be Fit Again

Fighting To Be Fit Again

28 April 2019
Badminton Olympic Competition Schedule Announced

Badminton Olympic Competition Schedule Announced

16 April 2019
Lee Chong Wei in Search of Olympic miracle

Lee Chong Wei in Search of Olympic miracle

16 April 2019
New Lustre to the Legend

New Lustre to the Legend

10 April 2019
Tai Undecided on Retirement Post Tokyo 2020

Tai Undecided on Retirement Post Tokyo 2020

8 April 2019
Somerville/Mapasa Seek to Cover Lost Ground

Somerville/Mapasa Seek to Cover Lost Ground

5 April 2019
Comeback Man Parupalli Targets Tokyo 2020

Comeback Man Parupalli Targets Tokyo 2020

2 April 2019
Women Trailblazers – Rio Flashback

Women Trailblazers – Rio Flashback

23 March 2019
New Era Set to Dawn – Road To Tokyo

New Era Set to Dawn – Road To Tokyo

23 March 2019
Tokyo 2020 on the Horizon

Tokyo 2020 on the Horizon

22 March 2019
YOG Stars to Watch – Road To Tokyo

YOG Stars to Watch – Road To Tokyo

22 March 2019