MADRID – Spanish badminton superstar Carolina Marin, the reigning Olympic gold medalist and world champion in women’s singles, said on Monday that she was briefly distraught after learning she had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee but was back in a positive frame of mind after a couple of days.
The 25-year-old Marin, who is expected to need between six and eight months to recover and may miss this year’s BWF World Championships in Basel, Switzerland, said in a press conference at the headquarters of the National Sports Council in Madrid that she will not rush back to competition.
She added, however, that she will be looking to win a medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“The motivation is still there, it hasn’t gone away. There’s been pain and suffering, and there’ll be a lot more, but my goal is clear,” the three-time world champion said.
The native of the southwestern Spanish city of Huelva was forced to retire from the Jan. 27 final of the Indonesia Masters when she suffered the injury while leading India’s Saina Nehwal 10-4 in the first game. She underwent surgery two days later in Madrid.
“The first two days were horrible. I was extremely nervous, more than scared,” said Marin, who walked into the press conference on crutches.
The awareness that her injury could have been even more severe helped her change her mindset, the second-ranked Marin said, adding that she also knew a positive attitude would be crucial to a fast recovery.
Marin’s coach, Fernando Rivas, told EFE that he and his star pupil would exercise caution and not force the issue in an effort to compete in Basel between Aug. 19-25.
“I remember the day I tore (the ligament) I couldn’t stop crying ... at the pavilion (in Jakarta), and I told Fernando that I wanted to compete again when I was 200 percent sure, when my (injured) knee was just as good as the other one,” the athlete said.
“I’ve heard that will take six, seven or eight months ... It’ll be the right time when my confidence and my knee are at 200 percent. If we make it in time for the worlds, we make it,” she said.
Marin said she isn’t patient by nature but that she has gotten a lift from being near other athletes at the national training center in Madrid and having started tactical and visualization work to the extent her knee allows, as well as mental training.
Rivas said that Marin, now more than ever, is a role model for the other badminton players in Madrid.
“Even in adversity she’s still training more than they are. She’s always been a role model, in competition and in training, and now much more so. She’s leading the group by her example, and that’s the best message the other (athletes) can receive,” he said.