Carolina Marin

Two titles in two weeks – Marin is riding a fabulous hot streak – will she stay fit enough to challenge for a podium place at the Olympics this summer? The danger that she poses to the Fab Four is real.

carolina marin
The winning moment.
Photo by kind permission of Rachel Drew.

After her recent All England victory CAI Yun analysed some elements of her game and compared her to rivals. He pointed out that as a three-time winner of the World Championships and the current Olympic champion she has nothing to prove at the big tournaments. This can liberate her from the pressure that many top athletes suffer and allow her to play freely.

Spain has world-class tennis players but no big tradition in badminton. Her incredible career achievements put her at the centre of the world of Women’s Singles, but she has often been culturally a little on the fringes. Her partnership with coach Fernando Rivas is key because they were both outsiders – unrestricted by convention- who were open to using new methods to achieve success.

Fitness will play a pivotal role in the outcome of the Women’s Singles tournament in Paris. Her main rivals for Olympic medals are all battling injuries. Akane has just returned to competition, TTY mentioned hamstring problems, AN Se Young’s knee is a bit dodgy, and CHEN YuFei has persistent soreness. Who can maintain their physical condition to vie for Olympic glory? Carolina has recovered successfully from two career-threatening ACL injuries and possesses the emotional strength to move on. Tribute must be paid to the team behind her, who keep her motivated through dark days and the gym grind.

I am always fascinated by her behaviour on court. CAI Yun mentioned this too. She has mastered the art of PsyOps and has been allowed by the badminton establishment to push the boundaries of conduct towards her opponent. She can be quite intimidating; if she were a lawyer, I would want her on my defence team.

Everyone knows about her slightly unnerving shouts but there are other tactics that can disrupt the momentum of a match. Toweling down, and requests for court mopping are completely legitimate in my opinion but there is an undefined point where it becomes ‘too much.’  That is the crux of this – if no one is prepared to say what is too much then why criticize a player who has added it to their armour?

The shuttle is another weapon that Marin uses. It is never ‘out of play’ even if the point has concluded. Often it is not returned directly to an opponent but flicked away off to the side. Just small things that stall the progress of a match can become immensely powerful.

Marin stands poised on the brink of history. She has the mental resilience to surge past everyone and cement her legacy as one of the all-time badminton greats.

Thank you to Rene Biaoli (of for kindly translating CAI Yun’s thoughts about Marin’s recent All England win. Thank you to Rachel Drew for allowing me to use her photo of Carolina.


Amanda Bloss All Rights Reserved

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