Carolina Marin on badminton comeback trail
Published: Aug 25, 2022 07:43 PM
Carolina Marin Photo: VCG

Carolina Marin Photo: VCG

A horror injury wrecked Carolina Marin's Tokyo Olympics dream but now the Spanish badminton star is aiming for a record fourth world title and gold at the 2024 Paris Games.

Marin was the hot favorite for the Tokyo title in 2021 until a knee injury in May forced her to miss not just the Olympics but also the world championships in her hometown of Huelva five months later.

The 29-year-old returned to action in May and she is making up for lost time at the world championships in Tokyo this week.

Marin staved off four match points to book her place in the quarter-finals with a 16-21, 21-15, 22-20 win over China's He Bingjiao on Thursday, letting out a wild scream of celebration after sealing the deal.

She insisted a record fourth world title was not at the forefront of her mind but said her win over He gave her the "self-confidence to face other top players."

"I don't want to think about the title every day because this is something that is going to happen only on Sunday when you win the last game," she told AFP after setting up a blockbuster quarter-final against top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.

"I want to push myself as far as I can. I want to give my best in every game that I have to play here and of course I'm looking forward to playing another quarter-final."

The anterior cruciate ligament knee tear Marin suffered in 2021 came just two years after she ruptured the ACL in her other knee - an injury that kept her out for eight months of 2019.

She said her two injuries were "really tough for the body but mainly mentally" adding that the thought of winning Olympic gold in 2024 had kept her going.

"When I broke my second knee, something that motivated me was that I couldn't win in Tokyo so I wanted to win the gold medal in Paris," said Marin, the 2016 Olympic champion.

"I don't want to put pressure on myself to keep this kind of goal in my mind. This is something that is going to happen in two years but it's something that sometimes motivates yourself."

Marin is conscious that, at 29, she is "not as young as the other players" and is wary of overloading her schedule. 

"Now I am in the moment to really care about my body," she said.

"We need to keep focusing on what tournaments I should play because to have two serious injuries is really easy to say but really hard to feel," said Marin.

Marin's resolve will be tested fully when she faces world number one and home crowd favorite Yamaguchi for a place in the last four.