Spanish badminton great Carolina Marin seeing light at end of dark tunnel

Madrid, Nov 30 (EFE).- Six months after suffering a serious knee injury that kept her out of the Tokyo Olympics, Spanish badminton great Carolina Marin says she feels more ready every day to return to competition and already has her sights set on the next Summer Games.

In an interview with Efe, the 28-year-old native of the southern city of Huelva recalled that one false step in a training session in May plunged her into a very dark place.

She suddenly felt a great deal of discomfort, and tests showed she had torn the anterior cruciate ligament and both menisci in her left knee.

“I saw everything very bleak. It took me several days, but in the end I always try to find the bright side, take something positive from all this,” the three-time women’s singles world champion and gold medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics said.

She also said she needed to set herself a new objective, and Paris 2024 quickly became her top priority.

This year’s health setback marked the second serious injury of Marin’s career, coming just over two years after she ruptured the ACL in her right knee during the final of an event in Indonesia in January 2019.

“It’s true that this recovery has been much tougher for me than the other one … I was in a very good place mentally, very motivated and feeling confident, enjoying badminton,” said Marin, who had won four titles in 2021 – including her fifth straight European championship – prior to the injury.

Those positive vibes have returned six months later, as has the sense that better days lie ahead.

“The last two years have been very tough for me: an injury, loss of a family member (her father died in July 2020) and another injury. Very difficult changes, constantly. The blows that life gives you … but you have to be able to adapt,” Marin said.

A key element that has allowed her to triumph on the biggest stages and overcome adversity has been the psychological support she has received since moving to Madrid and fully devoting herself to badminton as a teenager.

“That help is very important. You don’t need it because you’re crazy or you’re in a bad place, but rather because you’re fine but you want to be even better,” Marin said.

Through that psychological assistance, athletes can work on their anxiety and fears and learn to control their emotions on court, the athlete said.

Marin still has not ruled out the possibility of competing in next month’s BWF World Championships, which will be held in Huelva from Dec. 12 to Dec. 19.

“I’ll definitely make it, because I’ll be there whether it’s on or off the court,” she joked, adding that it’s a dream come true to bring that major tournament to her hometown and to a sports pavilion that bears her name.

Spain had no badminton tradition when Marin began her path to greatness and had not even won a single medal at a European Championships, let alone at a World Championships or Olympics.

Thanks to Marin’s success, more people there are giving the sport a try.

“I’m surprised. There are lots of kids playing with a badminton racket and a shuttle. It’s a big source of pride and makes me very happy,” she said. EFE


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