Carolina sets sight at top spot

Carolina sets sight at top spot

Carolina Marin was eight when she took to the popular Spanish folk dance Flamenco. It was there that one of her best friends suggested a visit to a badminton court. Carolina instantly took to the shuttle and racquet. Flamenco got lost in the thrill of the sport.

One of the many meanings of this traditional dance is flamboyance. Carolina couldn’t be the dancer to embody it. But as a shuttler she has never allowed a dull moment on court. Dogged in pursuit of excellence and endowed with lightening quick movement, she has owned the badminton world with the flair of a dancer.

Spectacular victories in two biggest events — 2014 World Championships and 2015 All England Championships this year — forced the international glitterati to acknowledge the talent of this 21-year-old.

Now the coveted World No 1 ranking could also be hers if all goes well in her debut appearance in the India Open. “When I started to play badminton one of my goals was to win gold medal at the World Championship, Olympics Games and be No 1,” said Carolina.

“My coaches have used different tactics to know my opponent. The All England final was very tough. It is difficult to play Saina. At the beginning of the match I was very nervous because I thought I had the opportunity to beat her. I changed my mental and physical game and it worked.”

Her rise in stature gains significance when she admitted how lack of badminton popularity in Spain often made it difficult for her to find suitable sparring partners. Her World Championships triumph, however, has already made a shift with many youngsters queuing to the badminton court . “Yes, it has been difficult because I don’t have many players there to train with, the way you have in China, Indonesia or in India,” she said.
“When I won the World Championship, I had many media waiting for me at the airport. I was not expecting that. I am happy people are getting to know about badminton following me.”

Carolina was lucky to meet her coach Fernando Rivas when she was just 13. Rivas saw her during quarterfinals of the U-15 national championships, which she went on to win. “She was like a little champion. She was a very fast, strong character though not so tactically and technically sound.

“She is mentally and physically very strong. In the last two seasons, she has grown a lot matured and her commitment is amazing. We have made a few psychological, physical and technical changes to her game to which she has adapted very well,” said Rivas.

When not playing, Carolina is just another youngster who loves hanging out with her friends. “I would like to study physiotherapy and when I am tired of badminton, maybe I will dance again,” she smiled.

Gurusaidutt throughMV Gurusaidutt and Sameer Verma qualified for the men’s singles main draw of the Super Series on Tuesday. In women's singles, the qualifying draw of 16 had only the Indians. Riya Mukherjee, Jyoti Nashier, Rucha Nikam and Kuhoo Garg made the cut.

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