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Spanish badminton star Carolina Marin has been announced as the recipient of the 2024 Princess of Asturias Award for Sports on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old will receive the esteemed award at a ceremony held in the city of Oviedo, located in northern Spain, in October. The Princess of Asturias Awards are bestowed in eight categories, including Sports, Arts, Communication and Humanities, Social Sciences, Literature, International Cooperation, Technical and Scientific Research, and Concord.

Born in Huelva, a city in southwest Spain, Marin clinched the Olympic gold medal in Rio in 2016 and secured victories at the World Championships in 2014, 2015, and 2018, making her the sole non-Asian player to achieve this feat three times. Additionally, she holds the distinction of being the only player to claim seven gold medals in the European Championships

Her victories in 2021, 2022, and 2024 came after overcoming a torn cruciate ligament injury, which sidelined her for over eight months. Marin also held the top spot in the world rankings for a remarkable 66 weeks. 

Marin initiated her badminton journey at the age of eight at the IES La Orden Recreational Club in her hometown. Following numerous triumphs at the regional level and securing multiple Spanish championship titles, she earned selection at the age of fourteen to join the High Performance Centre of the Spanish Council for Sports in Madrid. It was there that she ascended to become the foremost badminton player in Spain's history and one of the world's elite.

Spanish badminton sensation Marin has got her hands on the 2024 Princess of Asturias Award for Sports. GETTY IMAGES
Spanish badminton sensation Marin has got her hands on the 2024 Princess of Asturias Award for Sports. GETTY IMAGES

The awards jury emphasised that Marin is "the greatest player in the history of badminton in Spain and one of the best in the world." They added that she is "an example of self-improvement, a source of inspiration, and a transmitter of values, both on and off the court."

This marks the third presentation of the eight Princess of Asturias Awards in their forty-fourth year. Previously, the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts was conferred upon singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat, while the Award for Communication and Humanities was bestowed upon Franco-Iranian cartoonist, film director, and painter Marjane Satrapi.

As tradition dictates, the Princess of Asturias Awards ceremony will occur in October, featuring a solemn presentation presided over by Their Majesties The King and Queen of Spain. They will be accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses Leonor, Princess of Asturias, and Infanta Sofia of Spain.