Another Olympic gold in mind, Carolina Marin flying higher

Marin returned from an eight-month injury break in 2019 to win China Open, Syed Modi International, besides reaching the semis of All England Championship.

Carolina Marin in action at the Premier Badminton League Season 4 in Ahmedabad in 2019.   -  FILE PHOTO/ Vijay Soneji

At 26, Carolina Marin, the reigning Olympic champion and three-time World champion, is still a major threat to the best in women’s badminton. Stuck at home in Spain due to the COVID-19 lockdown, Marin, who is a regular in the Premier Badminton League having played for teams like Hyderabad Hunters, Pune Aces before pulling out for this year’s edition, is still chasing another Olympic gold.

For the record, Marin staged a grand comeback from an eight-month injury break in 2019 to win China Open, Syed Modi International and then in 2020, she entered the Malaysian Masters semifinal, Indonesian Open final, Thailand semifinal and All England Championship semifinal before the global crisis hit the sport.

She shared a few thoughts on the future of badminton post the pandemic in a chat with Sportstar.

What has been the most difficult challenge for you during lockdown in what was originally Olympics year?

Not being able to play badminton and staying away from the game that I love so much is definitely challenging but then the COVID pandemic situation is still on and we need to be patient and wait. My goal is the Olympics and winning yet another medal for the country.

How about your training schedule? How are you keeping match fit?

Currently, I am in my hometown and things have improved and are normal here. I am doing my fitness training at home as much as possible, based on the schedule that my coach shares at the beginning of the week. I am also working with my mental trainer as we wait for things to fall back on track. So, we have to wait for now.

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What worries you the most about the postponement of the various BWF events?

With everything shut we are in no way ready to start training let alone play. Big cities like Barcelona and Madrid are still not fully functional and our national centre in Madrid is still closed for any kind of training. If Spain has seen so many deaths so has other parts of the world and hence postponement was the best solution.

How difficult will it be for any athlete and especially for you being an Olympic and world champion if and when some sporting action resumes?

While you are used to hopping from one country to the other and playing tournament after tournament and suddenly not being able to play and confined at home surely is not what players are used to and this can lead to anxiety issues. Being mentally charged up is equally important. At an unprecedented time like this, we all have to be strong and wait, I am no different but I keep myself busy with a lot of

household chores apart from my training, so, for now, I am busy, very busy. (laughs).

Was the Olympics postponement a major concern for you in terms of preparations?

No, I was fine, rather happy. I was playing the All England when the news of the impact of the virus started to come in. Though I was focused on my match, there were many who had a hard time and I think postponement was the best thing to happen for everybody. Safety and health is a priority.

READ| Badminton coach feels like counsellor dealing with players during lockdown

How do you want the new Olympic qualifying norms to be?

BWF is doing its part and I have full faith that they will come out with a plan that is in the best interest of players.

What is your viewpoint on BWF freezing rankings?

After All England we all rushed back home and since COVID pandemic has been the only thing that is there on top of our minds. So freezing ranking I guess is a wise decision and we can start over from where we left.

What is the biggest change you foresee in badminton post virus the scenario?

Change is the only constant. We all have to maintain social distancing while we train, interact and travel going forward. I am following the guidelines given to us by BWF. But not having fans at the stadium for some time may be a reality and that I will surely miss.

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