Carmen Giuliana Poveda Flores cannot remember a time when sport was not a part of her life.
“I was six when I started playing football at the Milan Club in my neighbourhood,” says Poveda. Her two sisters played football and volleyball; her father was a footballer while her mother was an accomplished volleyball player.
Her road to badminton however, has taken a few turns. At eight, she switched from football to volleyball and at 14, while playing in a tournament with able-bodied girls her age, a member of the Peru Sports Institute invited her to join the Short Stature National Volleyball Team. Restless because of an irregular training schedule, she jumped at the chance to play badminton when Peru Badminton Federation coach Isaac Nunes invited her to join the Association of Small People of Peru (ASPEPP).
“At the time, I did not know what badminton was and I couldn’t even hit the shuttlecock. But now I want to win the World Championships,” says Poveda, who is aiming for the top step of the podium at the TOTAL BWF World Para-Badminton Championships which will be held in Basel later this month.
“I lost in the 2017 final to Rachel Choong and I intend to seek my revenge. She is a good athlete and I haven’t beaten her in two matches,” says Flores, who is currently No. 1 in the women’s singles Short Stature (SS 6) BWF Para badminton world rankings.
While the world title is her immediate target, Flores has ambitions to be a badminton coach, and an off-court career in Cinema Audiovisual Communications.
“My favorite movie is Twilight and I am fascinated by visual effects and everything related to these scenes,” says this 18-year-old student of Production and Direction of Cinema Audiovisual Communications at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.
Like any other teenager and athlete, Poveda admits to sometimes succumbing to nerves, allowing the pressure and stress of competition get the better of her. “I sought the help of a psychologist and nowadays, I vent before a game, by shouting out loud or crushing paper. It helps me.”
Having found ways to overcome her weaknesses, Poveda is aware that her mixed sports background gives her an advantage over her opponents. “I have played several sports and my strength is the combination of the techniques learned from each of them,” says Flores.