Bulgaria muscling in on Euros in August
May 30, 2022 @ 13:10 UTC
Bulgaria Touch will debut at the European Touch Championships '22 and FIT's newest member is leaving no stone unturned to match it with the best in Europe.
New Federation of International Touch member Bulgaria Touch is well advanced with its preparations for competing in its first ever international tournament, the European Touch Championships 22 (ETC22) to be held in Nottingham during the first week of August 2022.
Stefan Doychev the President of Bulgaria Touch said “We're bringing one team to the Euros in the Mixed Open division.
“This is a historical, first-ever appearance for Bulgaria at an international event and we are chomping at the bit for August.”
Preparing since winter – no team will be fitter
According to Stefan, Bulgaria Touch started its preparation and selection process back in the cold days of January and it’s been a long way since.
“We’re still at the very beginning of our growth and there were various struggles with numbers and a lack of fundamental touch basics.
“But what we are lucky for is having motivated and dedicated people ready to do the hard work! We're usually meeting once to twice a month for a preparational camp during the weekend.”
Traditionally, before each camp, the Bulgarians get together for an online session to further improve the learning and get the most out of their time on the field. Bulgaria Touch has also reached out to more entrenched FIT members for assistance. For instance, in May, Paul Brown, Head of Coaching at Ireland Touch, visited Bulgaria and ran a few sessions for the local players. This highly target training included a full day preparational camp.
“This was a significant milestone for our squad. The team received valuable knowledge and most importantly - everyone came back even more motivated to become better and master the game,” said Stefan.
As part of the preparation process for the Euros, the Bulgaria Mixed squad recently returned from a tournament in Italy. Stefan said, “It was an awesome experience - congratulations to the organizers Varese Black Devils and Italia Touch.”
Ramping it up
Preparation for an event of such a high level such as the European Touch Championships requires work not only on the field.
“Our biggest challenge is to prepare the team to face the top elite level opponents from all over Europe,” reasons Stefan. “We believe that success includes physical, tactical, and mostly mental preparation - we learn how to be a true team and good opponents.”
Stefan says the Bulgarians aren’t getting ahead of themselves and expect their very first international tournament to be a learning experience.
“My personal expectations are to come to England to enjoy top quality touch, make a lot of new friends from all over the world, have fun and give our best!”
Stefan says, “The European Touch Championship is not the final goal for us but the beginning. We're working very hard on setting a solid foundation for the next generations to come and growing touch in Bulgaria.
“And last but not least hopefully, some of the players we meet will bring their teams to the first tournament we’re organizing in Sofia.”
Participating in the ETC22 will support the expansion of Touch in Bulgaria
Participation at the ETC22 will be a “massive” boost for Touch in Bulgaria in terms of player participations and local community engagement. “A lot of new people are recognising the values of the sport,” Stefan notes.
“They'll be surely supporting us and be following closely the live streams of the biggest touch championship in Europe. I hope we will inspire a lot of new people to join and start playing touch as well.”
On a personal note, one of the great international Touch ambassadors, Stefan Doychev himself admits to being “really excited” by the approaching tournament in Nottingham.
“I can’t wait for the Euros to come! My daily routines are now completely focused on the preparation for it including organizational matters, team preparation and of course individual training.”
He continues, “I literally count the days until the Euros. There are a lot of things to be done in the last weeks before the tournament and we're very lucky to have Dorian Martinelli joining our team as Head Coach. Coming from a touch family his knowledge and understanding of the game is helping us all grow.”
Finally, Stefan says it’s important to thank all the members of Bulgaria Touch and the local community. “Everyone's efforts in growing the sport matter a lot.
“Also, to all our friends from abroad helping us with everything they can, sharing knowledge, and supporting us in what we do.
“Touch is a very unique sport and we all should be proud of the community that's built around it - that's the best trophy one could win.”
Tap off for the five-day ETC22 begins on 2 August at The University of Nottingham.