Reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin has decided to pull out of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics after suffering an unfortunate injury. Having to undergo surgery to treat the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear in her left knee, Carolina Marin will now be unable to defend her Olympic title.
The 3-time World Champion faced discomfort in her movement during her training session on Saturday and immediately went in for tests. Initially spewing doubt regarding her participation in the Games, Carolina Marin finally took to Twitter to confirm the news of her absence in Tokyo.
As distressing as this development might be for Carolina Marin and her fans, her absence from the Games will cause quite the dramatic turn of events.
What could Carolina Marin's absence from the Olympics mean for the others?
With 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist, Carolina Marin, out of the fray for medal contention, the path will be much easier now. A steady medal favorite, Marin was enjoying a good season and was in sharp form as well. Having bagged four of the five title matches she has played in 2021, the 27-year-old was more than ready to defend her gold.
However, the ill-timed injury is playing quite the spoilsport for Marin, as she will be missing from badminton action in the upcoming months. This, in turn, would work favorably for players like Tai Tzu Ying, PV Sindhu, Chen Yufei, Akane Yamaguchi and Nozomi Okuhara, as they will now have one less major obstacle to deal with.
Carolina Marin's absence can act as major boon for PV Sindhu
It's difficult to forget the memory of the classic 2016 face-off between Carolina Marin and PV Sindhu in Rio. Packed with emotional intensity, the 2016 final was a hot battle of blood, sweat and tears with both players giving it their all.
Having won the first game, 19-21, Sindhu stood just one game away from clinching Olympic gold before Carolina Marin began her attack. What followed was a mind-numbing thriller that gave our nails a hard time, as Marin and Sindhu went toe-to-toe. Both players extracted the best from each other before Marin edged past to take home the gold, 21-19, 12-21, 15-21.
All of 21 then, PV Sindhu became the youngest Indian Olympic medalist as she settled for silver in Rio. But five years down the line, Sindhu, at 25, is a larger force to be reckoned with. Sindhu, the 2019 World Champion, has her eyes trained on bettering her 2016 performance, by any means necessary.
Marin, who has won 9 of the 14 encounters against the World No. 7, has been a constant roadblock in the path of PV Sindhu's success. So with arch-rival Marin out of her way in Tokyo, Sindhu's chances of bagging gold will considerably shoot up now.
Without Carolina Marin, Asian shuttlers to resume their supremacy again
As far as badminton is concerned, Asia has been a powerhouse in the sport, holding down fort quite effectively. Interestingly, Carolina Marin was the only European inside the BWF Top 10 that threatened Asian supremacy. Moreover, there is no denying just how dangerous Marin can be as an opponent, and therefore, her absence in Tokyo will spell fortunes differently now.
First off, reigning World No.1, Tai Tzu Ying, has to take charge of history, as she appears in her third straight Olympics. The formidable player from Chinese Taipei is yet to make it past the Round of 16 stages at the Games.
Tai, who shares an intense rivalry with Marin, leading their head-to-head by a wee margin of 8-10, stands to benefit from this. The possibility of getting the first Olympic medal in badminton for Chinese Taipei now seems comparatively easier, with Marin not there to hinder plans.
Rio bronze medalist Nozomi Okuhara will also have enough reason to rejoice in Carolina Marin's absence in Tokyo. Staying abreast of each other, both the Japanese and the Spaniard have split their wins equally, having won 8 matches each out of their 16 clashes. With this development, Okuhara will now have the added confidence to better her 2016 performance and upgrade her medal on home turf.
Yet another Japanese who will have much cause to rejoice is World No. 5 Akane Yamaguchi. Having failed to go beyond the quarter-finals in her maiden Olympic appearance, Yamaguchi is most interested in crossing that threshold. Having Marin in the mix would have made the path difficult for the 23-year-old, as the Spaniard has fared successfully 7 times out of their 12 meetings.
Finally, nestling in the top spot in the BWF Race to Tokyo rankings, Chen Yufei also stands to gain from Carolina Marin's absence. The Chinese ace shuttler has only met with Marin on 5 occasions, but so far, it is the Spaniard who has had the last word thrice. Yufei's debut at the Olympics will now be more hassle-free, with Marin not there to upset the medal plans of the 23-year-old Chinese star.