TOKYO, July 20 (Xinhua) — Spanish basketball star Alba Torrens could only watch on TV as Spain were knocked out of the Eurobasket quarterfinals this year by eventual winners Serbia, after having to isolate following a positive COVID-19 test, but says she hopes to enjoy the moment as Spain go for a medal in Tokyo.
“I’m really happy to be able to be back here with the team in something as special as the Olympic Games. The pandemic is hard for everyone, but the main thing is that we have recovered,” she said in an interview with the El Mundo Deportivo newspaper.
Torrens’ teammate Tamara Abalde was also sidelined by COVID-19 and Torrens believes that the experience allowed them to “put a perspective on things. We didn’t feel ill and we’re grateful for that, but the virus has caused a lot of pain everywhere.”
“There were days of uncertainty, because three days before the championships we all had to adapt to a different set of circumstances and it was hard, because it was a question of health and not just sport,” she commented.
Torrens, who is from the island of Mallorca, explained it was hard watching the matches from her hotel room and that Spain was eventual defeat to Serbia – who went on to win the title – showed “just how fine the line can be between defeat and success.”
“Now we are at a new tournament and the most important thing is to be here and to be well prepared. Nothing we have won in the past will help us now and we have to focus,” she commented, adding that Spain had to “concentrate on the group games and not look beyond that.”
However, she admitted that there is one clear favorite for gold in Tokyo – the USA, who have won gold in every Olympics since 1992 and who defeated Spain 101-72 in the final at Rio 2016.
“Not just because I say so, but because the results show they are at a different level. Not just because of their talent, but also physically. It’s really hard to attack and defend against them under the hoop and they are also talented on the outside. Maybe the best way to try to beat them will be to do what they do and attack and try and score as many points as possible,” said Torrens.