Carolina Marin sets sights on Tokyo Olympic gold

Reigning Olympic badminton champion, Carolina Marin, will miss next month’s Pro Badminton League but says the eight-month injury-break has helped improve her game.

Back in the hunt: Carolina Marin says getting used to high-level match play and overcoming the initial nervousness was a challenge after the break.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Reigning Olympic badminton champion, Carolina Marin, will miss next month’s Pro Badminton League but says the eight month long injury break this year has helped improve her game. Marin is gunning for another Olympic gold in Tokyo next year.

In an e-mail interview with Sportstar, the 26-year-old Marin spoke at length on various issues.

What was the biggest challenge on comeback?

Getting used to high-level match play and overcoming the initial nervousness was a challenge. It was evident in my first tournament back in Vietnam where I struggled to focus and felt tense. Fortunately, I was able to get over it in my very next tournament at the China Open.

READ| PV Sindhu: 'BWF Finals is a fresh challenge, I'm ready'

How optimistic were you of a comeback?

I was heartbroken on first hearing that I had ruptured my ACL. I had no hopes of making it to the Tokyo Olympics then. But, I was able to gather the strength and motivation to fight this phase. I told myself to think positively.

What sort of preparations did you do?

Fitness was top priority during my recovery. I am grateful to my physiotherapist and physical trainer for the hard work we did.

Did you have to change your style or approach to the game?

No. Rather one of the positives from the injury-break was that it helped me improve. I feel I have sharpened my net-play and have added variety to my shots.

READ | Gopichand on Sindhu's form: 'Tough last two months' result of hectic scheduling

How do you rate your chances at the 2020 Olympics?

It’s going to be a different Olympic Games from Rio. The players will be more ready for sure. Everything is going to be different but, of course, as always, I really want to get that gold medal again.

How much have you enjoyed playing at the PBL and when can we see you back again?

I am always happy to be in India because I love the atmosphere and my Indian fans. I’ll most definitely miss it this time. I hope to come back next season and feel all the love again.