Champion Carolina Marin pulls out of Tokyo Olympics; Sindhu’s path now appears easy

Abhijit Sen Gupta
Abhijit Sen Gupta

New Delhi: The Tokyo Olympic Games continue to be dogged by misfortune. The latest mishap to have hit the Games is the injury to reigning women’s badminton Olympic champion Carolina Marin. The Spanish player who had won the Gold medal at the last Olympic games announced today that she will be unable to defend her crown in Tokyo due to a ligament injury to her left knee.

Carolina is a five-time European champion and a three-time World champion. She was widely expected to be among the favourites to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. It may be recalled that Carolina had beaten India’s P.V. Sindhu in a nail biting 83 minute final at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Carolina had won the gold and Sindhu had to settle for Silver.

Now in the absence of Carolina Marin, the chances of India’s ace shuttler P.V. Sindhu at the forthcoming Olympics seem to have become brighter.

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But Sindhu’s father P.V. Ramana, himself a former international volleyball player who had represented India, struck a note of caution when asked to comment on the latest development.

Speaking to he said: “It is extremely unfortunate that Carolina has suffered an injury. It is sad for any player to have trained hard for so many years and then have the bad luck to get injured with just a few weeks to go for the start of the Games,” he said.

“But Sindhu cannot afford to relax. In fact I will advise her to be even more careful now and guard against excessive optimism. To tell the truth, every player in the top 15 of the world rankings has the ability to win top honours. It all depends upon the run of play on a particular day. So we have to take it one day at a time. We must plan carefully, play with utmost focus and retain that concentration throughout the duration of the competition,” he explained.

“There are Chinese and Korean girls who are very strong. They can very easily pull off upsets. Just the fact that Carolina will not be there does not mean that we are assured of a medal. That is far from true and it would be foolish to take that approach. Sindhu must play her best in every match,” he concluded.

It is well known that Sindhu’s biggest stumbling block has been Carolina Marin. At the Swiss Open in March of this year, Carolina who was the top seed had beaten second seeded Sindhu 21-12, 21-5. Overall in head to head clashes Carolina has a better record by 9-6 over Sindhu. 

Sindhu is a tall and powerful hitter who rarely displays emotion on the court. She is right now, without doubt, India’s badminton star and India’s leading medal hope at the Olympic Games. Now her path may have become just a little easier. But she must be on her guard and cannot afford to relax.

Abhijit Sen Gupta is a seasoned journalist who writes on Sports and various other subjects.

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