"PBL a step in the right direction," says Hyderabad Hunters star Carolina Marin
Marin's Olympic triumph was the second-most watched Rio event in her native, Spain.
What’s the story?
The badminton women’s singles gold medalist from the Rio Olympics, Carolina Marin has been wowing fans in India and across the world with her spectacular performances in the Premier Badminton League for her Hyderabad Hunters side.
“I’m very happy to play here in India and I want to thank the Hyderabad Hunters team for giving me this opportunity,” said Marin in a press conference.
She stated that the league is a step in the right direction., adding, “This year we have even more top players coming in. The team format is interesting and it is good for the spectators and television viewers as well.”
When asked about the difference between playing on the circuit and in such a league, Marin said, “Here, we are playing for each other and it adds to the pressure. If I lose, I lose for the team and so, the team event makes it a tough and different challenge.”
When asked Marin which Indian she finds a tougher opponent – PV Sindhu or Saina Nehwal, she, however, declined to pick any, stating, “It is not possible for me to select one. Both players have a different style of play and pose different and difficult challenges. I have to be at my 100% every time if I want to beat them.”
In case you didn’t know...
Marin won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, defeating Indian shuttler PV Sindhu in an intense final. She is also a two-time world and European champion, and the only European currently in the top 20 of the BWF World rankings.
The heart of the matter
After her Olympic win, Marin said that her win has helped raise badminton’s profile in her country, where football and tennis rule the roost. Her final was the second-most watched Rio event in her country after the Spanish basketball’s match against the USA, grabbing more eyeballs than the likes of Rafa Nadal and Marc Lopez.
She felt that it is heartening for her to see more people play badminton in her country and that after her win, more people recognise her on the streets back home in Spain.
Marin said that she is hungrier than ever going into 2017 and is looking to win more titles – the All England Open, the European Championships and the Super Series events. As far as the PBL is concerned, her side takes on the Delhi Acers on January 12 at the Siri Fort Stadium in Delhi,
It is always a learning experience speaking to an athlete of Marin’s stature and calibre. She looks hungrier than ever for the upcoming season after enjoying a great year in 2016. Another point that stood out was her team spirit and the way she guided and spoke about her teammates, which is always nice to see as well.