Bulgarian sisters Stefani Stoeva and Gabriela Stoeva were thrilled to be in their first World Championships quarterfinals, which was especially significant because Gabriela is recovering from a painful back problem.
A pinched nerve in her back caused the Stoevas to concede a walkover in their semifinal at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2021. Unable to get up from bed in Bali, and suffering the condition during the 30-hour trip to Huelva, the Stoevas had contemplated withdrawing from the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2021.
“Finally we’re in our first World Championships quarterfinals, so we’re really happy. We were supporting each other because we were alone on court (without a coach),” said Stefani. “I tried to cover most of the court and not let her play from the back. But I think she’s ok now.
I couldn’t get up from bed for three days in Bali, and the two days’ travel was terrible,” said Gabriela.
“We got here and went to hospital to see a doctor, to see if we could play the tournament. I got some injections and physiotherapy and it got better after the second injection.
“I’m thankful to Sindhu that she gave me her therapist in Bali and that helped a lot. She checked me there and released some of the pain. I had to lie down in the plane but I could only sit up and it was terrible. I’m thankful that this pain is going away because I didn’t eat or sleep for five days.
“I was waking up at 2 and 5 in the morning and she (Stefani) was my therapist. We are very happy because we’ve never passed the second round at the World Championships.”