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If one looks closely at the knees of Caroline Marin You will find a map of the tortuous path that the Spanish champion has traveled in the last two years. Some notches in the form of scars that reveal the operations that she has undergone. Something that she fits with sportsmanship and a sincere smile warning that “that is forgotten. I have already closed that book. When I jump on the track I don’t think about my knees anymore. I don’t feel that fear. And that is the best proof that I am fully recovered.”

The woman from Huelva, who has just conquered her title of champion of Europe in Madrid, He does not hide that “the road has not been easy, but we have overcome one more obstacle and that is what it is about & rdquor ;. For the Olympic champion “the return has been as expected. I have waited to feel ready to take the step of returning. It was clear to me that until I felt physically and mentally ready, I was not going to do it. And here I am because life has given me this new opportunity, and on top of that I have come back competing in a European at home”.

isolate yourself from everything

The last time the Andalusian stopped holding a badminton racket one summer, she was 8 years old. However, last summer she had no choice but to stop. At the end of last May she suffered a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament and the two menisci of her left knee that left her out of the circuit.

It was not his first serious injury, because he had already torn the cruciate ligament in his right knee in the Indonesian Masters of 2019. But it has been the one that has kept him stopped the longest. Something that, far from being a problem, became almost a release for her: “There was a time when I needed to isolate myself from everything. And not picking up the racket was not a problem because I was focused on my physical recovery. It is true that in recent months I already had the bug to compete again, but I have not become anxious. This has been similar to the recovery from the first knee injury, because I have not missed the competition. I know that everything has its own process and I have focused on completing each phase.”

For Carolina, the fact of not competing for eleven months, far from being a problem, has turned it into an opportunity. “By not having to travel all year to compete, I have been able to expand the resources that are in the toolbox that I draw from in games. During the recovery time we have taken the opportunity to improve things and expand resources in my game & rdquor ;. Something that we have seen in this European in which some jump shot that we were not used to caught our attention. “It’s something I never do. But when you’re loose and enjoying yourself, these things come out. Sometimes I surprise everyone, even me & rdquor ;, she says amused.

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Marín is clear that “this Carolina is a better player, she has more resources. When I go on court, I am comfortable and confident. I let go and resort to resources that we have improved and even some new ones that we have incorporated and that I did not have or did not use before. It can be said that I am a more complete player now.”

‘Carpe Diem’

Carolina ends up confessing that everything that has happened to her in recent years with injuries has changed her philosophy a bit when it comes to facing the game. “Now my goal is to enjoy myself on the track, enjoy the path I have to travel. Winning or losing is a question of each game and of being more or less successful. I have to limit myself to applying the tactics that we planned with my coaches. And then enjoy what I’m doing, because if I don’t enjoy it, bad… And for now I can say that in this comeback I’m enjoying it & rdquor ;. In Madrid she achieved her European Championship, which adds to an Olympic gold in Rio 2016 and three world championships. She is the new Carolina Marín, more mature, more complete, more enjoying.

MADRID MOUNTED IN EIGHT WEEKS A EUROPEAN THAT IT RESCUED FROM FINLAND

The celebration of European badminton table Madridthat won Caroline Marin in the female category, hides a story behind. It counts Sophia Mirandathe sports councilor of the City hall. “They called us from the European Federation because Finland He resigned from his organization due to covid. We had two months and the first thing we did was negotiate the fee, in which we asked for a discount that they accepted. And we got to work. In eight weeks, record work has been done at a bureaucratic, administrative and sports level. Because going to the file and taking out all the paperwork in a timely manner with such little time has not been easy at all. It is not an exclusive job of the City Council Sports group, without Hiring or the Treasury it would not have come out.

Albert Prada, the director of the European, confesses that “this has been the biggest challenge we have had to face in the last ten years, because we have organized in 8 or 9 weeks what others organize in two years. Adapting the facility has been a challenge , because the adequacy of the track has needed more than six days for the darkening. And in three more the tracks were placed”. 230 players from 38 countries landed in Madrid to participate and, as Prada warns, “one of the main concerns was finding hotels in the area. In the end we have been able to locate them in three that are very close to the facility.”

The president of the Spanish badminton federation, Andoni Azurmendi, He maintains that “it is a very good sign that the European Federation directly offered us the tournament to be organized by Madrid. Spain is a highly valued tourist destination among athletes and on top of that we have already organized three World Cups. The confidence of the federations international events in Spain is important, and Madrid, with Sofia’s team, has not hesitated for a second in taking on the challenge”.

Precisely the councilor supports that idea: “The fact that they have thought of Madrid for the European Championship and have offered it to us is already an achievement in itself. That confirms that our position as a city of sports is a success. It is what we have been working for a long time. It is An important year for Madrid at a sporting level because we are consolidating something that started in 2019”. Azurmendi believes that “this will help give visibility to badminton here and help the base continue to grow. There are many children who have become hooked on our sport and if we have many practitioners there will be better results. The key is to make a base, the results must be a consequence We are not working looking for another Carolina, because there has not been a player like this in all of history. Not even in China. The goal is to increase the practitioners and raise the general level. And with the entry into schools, it is growing a lot.”

Miranda considers all the effort of the City Council and its team to be good with just one detail: “Seeing the faces of all those boys and girls waiting in line for Carolina to sign an autograph for them has been worth it. Those experiences are what mark them and they make them play sports afterwards. Without a doubt, it has been worth the effort. And this European Championship has also opened the doors for us to organize other events that have been interested in coming to Madrid”.


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