Carolina Marín's third world badminton title is without doubt the stand-out feat of Spain's summer of sport. An exemplary athlete utterly dedicated to her discipline, Marín has been an absolute trailblazer when it comes to badminton in this country, the latest in a line of stars who have been pioneers in their fields: the likes of Ángel Nieto, Manuel Santana, Emiliano Rodríguez and Seve Ballesteros, figures who have helped to spark our interest in other sports and move us past the classic trio of football, cycling and boxing. It's quite remarkable what this young Andalusian has achieved in ruling the world in a sport played in so many corners of the globe. And she showed such will to win to turn the final around after a first-set slump.
It hasn't just been Marín, though...
But it hasn't only been about Marín. Those watching the news in Spain yesterday will have been treated to the shouts of joy of our women's field hockey team, who claimed bronze at the World Cup, having only missed out on the final on penalties. Yesterday also saw our U-20 ladies' football side thump Paraguay. They now face tough tests against Japan and the US, at a World Cup where they are aiming to emulate the European titles won by our U-17s and U-19s. That's all on the back of a European water polo bronze, and gold at basketball's U-20 Euros, a competition in which we always seem to do well. In September, meanwhile, we've got the senior World Cup coming up in Tenerife; that could just be the icing on the cake.
So in a summer that has brought the let-down of the men's World Cup, it's fair to say Spain's sportswomen are giving us plenty to shout about. And that's despite the unavailability through injury of Mireia Belmonte, whose absence is keenly felt by our swimming team. Together with Marín, she is the shining light of women's sport in Spain; but, as we've seen, it's by no means limited to just those two. After so many years dogged by hardship upon hardship, it's a scene that has now really taken flight and in the future will look back with huge pride on the heroes who led the way. Sport is an indicator of a society's development and, because of what it says about that society's progress on equality, that's all the more true of women's sport.