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Won’t let Saina Nehwal regain world No 1 ranking: Carolina Marin

Having recovered from the injuries she had suffered towards the end of 2016, reigning world and Olympic champion Carolina Marin is eager to regain the world number 1 ranking and is determined to preventing Indian rival Saina Nehwal from reaching the top spot

other sports Updated: Mar 27, 2017 19:01 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
carolina marin,saina nehwal,pv sindhu
Spain’s Carolina Marin had defeated her Indian rival Saina Nehwal in the final of the 2015 BWF World Championships, as well as the title match of the 2015 All England Open Badminton Championships.(AFP)

Carolina Marin has had a tough few months since winning the gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. Injuries saw her form tail off towards the end of 2016, and earlier this month, her campaign at the All England Open badminton championships came to a disappointing end after she lost to Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in the quarterfinals.

World No. 4 Carolina Marin, however, is eager to put her recent struggles behind her. With the Indian Open starting in New Delhi from Wednesday, and having now recovered from her injuries, the reigning world and Olympic champion is committed towards the cause of regaining her world number one ranking.

In her quest for the same, Carolina Marin is willing to prevent her Indian rival Saina Nehwal from reaching the top spot.

Javier Tebas, president of La Liga (R) speaks while Carolina Marin (L) La Liga ambassador listens during the official launch of Spanish Football League La Liga office in Singapore on March 23, 2017. ( AFP )

Speaking to Hindustan Times at a promotional event for La Liga in New Delhi, Carolina Marin, who is an ambassador of the Spanish top division football league, offered her take on Saina’s comeback from a serious knee injury she had sustained at the Rio Games.

“We will have to wait and see (whether she can challenge for major titles again),” Carolina Marin said, referring about Saina’s comeback and the challenge of returning from a major injury.

“But of course, I will not allow her to reach the world number one ranking because I will be fighting for the same,” she added with a smile.

Speaking about her own injuries, 23-year-old Carolina Marin said, “It’s very hard to be always at the top level. My condition was perfect until the Olympic Games. After the Olympics, I suffered some injuries, serious injuries, because of which I couldn’t play many tournaments.

“Now I am getting better from those injuries. But of course, when you are playing at the top level of the sport, you will have to bear some pain in your body. So you have to take care of your body a lot.”

Badminton growing in popularity

For quite a long period of time, badminton had been dominated by players from China. Carolina Marin, along with players from India, Japan, South Korea , Thailand and other countries have succeeded in ending the Chinese hegemony in recent years. She says it is healthy for badminton as a sport.

“I think it’s really important because these players have helped in making badminton more popular around the world.”

Her own achievements, she admitted, have helped in the sport’s growth in Spain.

“Football is the most popular sport in Spain, but badminton is now growing in terms of popularity. After I won some titles, everyone knows about badminton in Spain.”

(From left) Pullela Gopichand, Rio Olympics silver medalist P V Sindhu and World No. 4, Carolina Marin of Spain during an India Open World Superseries 2017 badminton championship press conference in New Delhi on Monday. ( PTI )

Terming her Indian rivals Saina and PV Sindhu as ‘very tough opponents’, Marin said she is happy that badminton at the top level is extremely competitive these days.

“The top 10 (in the world rankings) has players from India as well as other countries from Asia, and I feel all these players are almost at the same level. The gap among the top players is too little,” the Spaniard stated.

Focus on Indian Open

The focus will now shift to the Indian Open in New Delhi. Marin, who enjoys significant popularity in India, having played at the Premier Badminton League earlier, said she will be banking on some support from the local fans to help her pull through.

“Every tournament is very important for me. The Indian Open is one of them. I want to do my best. I just want to enjoy out there, and I will hopefully have the fans behind me,” she said.

First Published: Mar 27, 2017 18:31 IST