On Monday, February 4, just eight days after breaking his right knee in Indonesia and after six of the operation at the Centro Clínica de Madrid, Carolina Marín reached his track at the High Performance Center and found his coach, Fernando Rivas , at the same point where misfortune had occurred. There, a plinth. There, a chair with a cushion on top. There a proposal.
The technician wanted his pupil to sit on top of the plinth, leave his leg completely immobilized and, from there, from the fateful point, begin a rehabilitation that both knew would last about eight months . Marin, of course, accepted. And almost two hours spent both practicing blows and more blows until it disappeared or at least the memory of that crac , of that pain, of that crying faded.
«I wanted to normalize the injury, talk about the knee, go back to the place where it happened . If you take fear, whatever it is, that can condition you a lot. Luckily, Carolina has approached the matter in the best way, ”says Rivas after taking a tough decision with Marin: the Spanish will not go to the Basel World Cup that starts on Monday, that is, she will not be eligible for her fourth title.
According to both, "it was not difficult" to formalize the resignation, because a possible relapse would put the medal at risk in the next Tokyo 2020 Games , but it did cost that point. Because Marín is fit - "he is doing more intense training than before the Rio Games" -. But Olympic gold demands sacrifices.
And it requires a plan. After his injury, Marín spent four and a half months without being able to move his right leg, doing stationary hitting technique and all possible bodybuilding work and as soon as he could move he raised an ambitious goal: to return winning .
His idea was to reach the World Cup, win for the fourth time and from the podium start the road to Tokyo. But Rivas controlled his mood . With a conviction, "to win first you have to lose," he asked Marin to do some tests before the World Cup and, if he was not 100% in all aspects, as happened, take advantage of an in-crescendo calendar.
Now, Marin, who will not have a single day of vacation until the Games, will play almost everything: he will return on September 10 in the modest Super 100 of Vietnam , the following week he will play the Chinese Super 1000 , the next, the Super 500 from Korea and so on until next summer.
«I feel quite well, the knee endures very hard workouts, but in the tests we saw that I need to polish the tactic, which in that sense was 80% . There are movements that still cost me, I'm going slow, and the worst thing that could happen would be to play again thinking about the knee, ”admits Marin, who noticed his weakness in his coach's tests.
Rehabilitation in Sierra Nevada
If he went to the World Cup, all his rivals would attack his support area with his right leg and during the recovery he had not had enough time to prepare a solid defense in that area, a shield that offered him security. This August he is doing it and in his competitive mind another challenge is already appearing: to be a seeker in the Games . It will be difficult because of the many points he will lose in the World Cup, but the numbers can add up. «I think it's the biggest obstacle I've ever faced . For me gold in Tokyo, after the injury, is the biggest challenge of my career, ”says the Spanish, with a secret weapon.
In April 2018, his coach, Rivas, and his assistant, Anders Thomsen , traveled to Sierra Nevada to try to help themselves with nature, that is, altitude. They already knew that, as happens in tennis, at higher elevations, the flyer flies faster , but they did not know how to take advantage of that without turning training into a torture of flights impossible for Marin.
That is why they asked for extra-frills-speed -1, while in Madrid they use speed 2 or 3-, they opened the tips and climbed to the High Performance Center of the Granada mountain to see if it could work. And yes, yes, it worked. At 2,320 meters, the steering wheel goes very fast , but with the tricks of the technicians it is still controllable.
That is why Marín has spent a good part of his recovery in Sierra Nevada and that is why even the Games will be spent there almost all the time he is in Spain. "Is incredible. Even with the super-flying flyers, you hit and it reaches you two meters further, it flies a lot . In addition to the physical benefits that are already known, training in height I think we can gain even more speed for Tokyo », concludes Rivas.
- Super 100 of Vitenam. It will be his comeback. In Ho Chi Minh, from September 10 to 15.
- Super 1000 from China. From September 17 to 22 in Changzhou.
- Korean Super 500 From September 24 to 29 in Seoul.
- Tournaments to the Games. Marín will play regularly in search of tuning his competitive tone.
- Tokyo games. From July 24 to August 9, he will seek to revalidate Rio's gold.
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