European Games: Raul Must wins first medal for Estonian badminton

Raul Must had to change his travelling plan following a suprising leap into the semi-finals of the European Games. In semi-finals Must had to accept the defeat to French player Brize Leverdez 20-22, 8-21, yet Estonian guaranteed bronze, the first major badminton medal in Estonia's history.

“It is a good feeling, it is amazing. It has been a struggle, I honestly did not see it coming. When I saw the draw, I thought I had a chance to get through the group, but to get a medal, it is a dream come true. In sport, it is everything. This medal is historic for me and I’m not so sure I can repeat it in the future. When I was playing for the medal, I had opponents that I knew I can actually win. I feel like I proved myself that I have something in me and I can do it even when there are better players in the tournament,” Must said.

Must's pragmatic approach is typical of a career spent defying odds stacked against him. Representing a country where badminton has traditionally received little attention, he is the only Estonian in the world's top 600 for men's singles. Yet the 31-year-old has competed at three successive Olympic Games.

"He's a real fighter," said Rainer Kaljumae, Must's long-time coach. "You can see that in the way he plays. And he's also very clever which is how he's found a way to be a full-time athlete for so long, which is not easy in Estonia.

"He's very strong-minded. If he wants to do something, he will do it. But recently he's also become more mature. In the past he wasn't a guy that always listened, so he hasn't been extremely coachable. But that's changed."