BADMINTON | EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Carolina Marín, European champion for a second time

The Spaniard comfortably beat Kirsty Gilmour in the final and can now look ahead to the Rio Olympics.

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Carolina Marin celebrates her European title win.
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER AFP

Carolina Marín today overcame Kirsty Gilmour 21-12, 21-18 to become European champion for a second time. Two years on from her first European title, won in Kazan in 2014, the Andalusian has established herself among the world’s best badminton players and is a favourite for Gold at this summer’s Olympics in Rio.

Marín was the favourite heading into the final but her opponent Gilmour, ranked second in Europe and twenty-first in the world, was expected to test her. Concerns over the condition of her shoulder – that caused her discomfort during the semi-final – and the fact that she hadn’t won a tournament all year also abounded. But the Spaniard proved far superior on the day.

Carolina dominated from the start, eager to show off her best badminton. Gilmour clung on to take the score to 4-4 but couldn’t keep up for long, committing a number of costly errors. Two magnificent plays from Marín took the score to 18-11 and the first set finished 21-12.

The second set proved more even. Gilmour’s play became more accurate and the two stayed head-to-head until past the half-way stage with the score at 11-11. But a tremendous backhand from Marín to return a tricky body shot showed the gulf in quality between the players and the Spaniard edged away. She took the score to 14-11 before closing out the set, and the match, 21-18.

Carolina Marín during her 21-12, 21-18 win over Kirsty Gilmour

Delighted with her victory and the fact that her shoulder hadn’t caused her any more problems, Marín and all of Spanish sport can now look forward to the Rio Olympics with hope and positive expectation.