By Lucía Santiago
Madrid, Jul 22 (efe-epa).- Carolina Marín remembers getting up early hours of the morning to watch fellow Spaniards and badminton players Yoana Martínez and Pablo Abián compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
At the time, few considered the Spanish team to be a strong force in the discipline but it fueled Marín’s aspirations to play in the “most important and special event an athlete can compete in.”
Marín went on to bag a gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and, in an interview with Efe during the inauguration of the Movistar Academy Magariños in Madrid, said the thought of Tokyo 2020, which has been postponed until next year, is driving her on.
“I know that I will arrive in better form than ever,” she said. “Having got the gold in Rio, I have no doubt that I’m going for another gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games.”
Her most recent challenge was to stay fit during the coronavirus lockdown in Spain.
For two and half months she has been able to train normally again and she has set her eyes on becoming “the best player in history.”
As well as the Olympic gold, she has three world championships and four European titles under her belt.
The memory of her win in Rio is fresh in her mind.
“I remember hugging my trainers, and then I hugged my parents, who were watching me from the stands.”
In Tokyo she envisions herself bagging another gold and “enjoying it even more.”
“It will surely be more special, to dedicate it to a person who in that moment will not be able to be at the Olympics Games watching me,” she says.
She acknowledges that the altered calendar in Tokyo as a result of the pandemic will be more intense, and will require her to stay in top form for weeks.
Outside her own field, Marín admits she’s a fan of rhythmic gymnastics, synchronized swimming and tennis.
“Following on from Rio, I knew what I was going for, and that was to win gold. During the 10 days of my competition, I was 100 per cent concentrated on being prepared for the game and I spent the rest of the time resting as much as possible.
“After I won the final, I had two days in which I could see (Spanish high jumper) Ruth Beitia, who also won gold, and the basketball team, which was going for bronze,” she said.
In Tokyo she hopes to see Rafael Nadal win a medal.
Originally slated for this summer, Tokyo 2020 organizers earlier this year decided to postpone the Games until next year given the health and safety threat posed by the pandemic.
They are now due to take place between 23 July – 8 August 2021. EFE-EPA