Israeli Youngster Embracing the Big Stage – Sudirman Cup ’19

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
TEXT BY Tom Leonard | Badminton Photo

At 17 years old, Israel’s Yuval Pugach is one of the youngest competitors at the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019.

Having played a handful of tournaments on the European Junior circuit, Pugach was elated to be selected for her first Sudirman Cup.

“I’m so excited to be here. I’m proud of my team and it’s great to have this opportunity.”

Needless to say, the unfamiliar environment of playing badminton in China on the world stage has its pros and cons.

“To see and play next to the big stars is amazing. I get so excited by it but then it’s also really hard for me to stay focused during the game,” said Pugach.

Misha Zilberman (left) on court in the men’s doubles with Ariel Shainski.


Israel has a unique blend of youth and experience. Balancing the exuberance of Pugach and some of her other teammates is World Tour veteran Misha Zilberman, a stalwart of the Israeli team, and Misha’s mother 61-year-old Svetlana Zilberman, who still competes in mixed doubles with her son and is Israeli coach here in Nanning.

That wealth of knowledge has been an asset for Pugach.

“Svetlana is the coach of our team. She is always friendly and has been very helpful to us this week,” says Pugach.

After a 3-2 loss to Germany and a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Canada, Pugach and Israel will be looking to end on a high note with a victory against Singapore later today.