On August 19, 2016 Eva Calvo won the Olympic silver in the Rio Games in -57. Since then he has not managed three consecutive competitions. The first time you do it will be from Wednesday 15 at the Manchester World Cup and in another weight category, the -67. His last three years have been a calvary of injuries. The meniscus of the right knee was broken first, then the one on the left. The rush to return to compete, add points in the new weight category and pursue its goal, have delayed recovery.
"In February of 2017, just before the Spanish championship, the physio told me that my meniscus seemed to be broken. I had been bothered for two years, but since they had not seen anything, I normalized it. He told me: 'it's loaded'. I went on and on and on, it broke, "says Eva, 27 years old, at the Olimpia de Leganés Sports Center, the pavilion where she is trained since she was a child at the orders of José María Martín, Xixo. The first thing you see on the wall is this sentence written in black letters: "If you want it strong, in the end it happens". Next to it is a photo of Eva biting the medal on the podium in Rio.
"I operated just after the championship of Spain, between the championship and the World Cup (of Korea, June 2017). After three weeks of surgery, I started doing a bike for rehabilitation: I went out and fell. I fell on my bad knee, it got huge again, it did not lower the swelling and I was dragging it, "he adds. So much that he competed in the World Cup without being one hundred percent. In taekwondo the hips and knees are the joints that suffer the most. "In May of last year I also broke the meniscus in my left knee (without realizing it). From the injury of the right I never recovered, I trained bandaged, the leg had muscle deficit … I followed with difficulty. When I had surgery on the left, they took advantage of it and cleaned my meniscus on my right leg. The double operation was in July of last year and I have been recovering again until January of this year, which is when I have been able to train better, "he says. He says he did not break a leg and he does not want to look like a whiner because he could train. But never, in the last three years, he has managed to do it without pain. He has become more accustomed to it.
Did not it affect you emotionally? "In the end you get used to it, I had a bad time at the beginning because I could not warm up without pain. Running already I do not tell you. He always bandaged me. It was a roll of: again with this. Each kick hurt me, if they pushed me, it hurt, they kept their knees sensitive to blows, "Eva answers three weeks before traveling to the World Cup in Manchester with her sister Marta, who competes in -62. "It made me sad because if you do not have a good time in training … well … And more for us, we have always defended the motto that our coach instilled in us: enjoy what you do, if you do not enjoy it, do not do it." I wanted to enjoy, but I could not, "he adds. He has done it again in the last weeks.
"Since after Rio I have not been well until now. It's a roll about injuries, especially about trying to get there. What bothered me was trying to accelerate the return, if I had stopped more months maybe I would have recovered easier. But trying to train … I went to the World Cup, to the European Championship and to the Mediterranean Games … ", he says. Why did she want to or because she felt pressured? "Because I wanted to, because the time passes and you look for an objective (the points for the ranking) and you think: 'it can not get any worse'. But it was not better either. I went to the Mediterranean Games with the broken meniscus of my left knee, but I did not know it yet. Things accumulated, "he replies. It refers, among others, to the change in weight that, in taekwondo and in your case, is like changing sports. If in -57 it was one of the highest, now they take out a whole body. "And the way to fight, in addition, is more to ram," he analyzes. He had never been injured.
Eva, who weighs about 62, went from the category of -57 to -67, tired of the weight drops she had to do before each competition (about 3-4 kilos a week: from putting on clothes to sweat, to eat as soon as you do not drink for a couple of days). "It was untenable to continue in that category, the weight of life made me bitter, I had a time that I could not even regret the rejection that I generated. When I changed the category I did not have any points in the ranking, I had to look for them in some way, hence the hurry to get back to training and to compete ", he explains. The points of the world ranking remain, unlike the Olympic ranking; in fact, in -57 she is still the 19th in the world without competing in that category for three years.
The road to Tokyo 2020 has been uphill (it is 64th in the ranking and the first five are classified), but she does not even want to throw in the towel. First because he says he is at his best in the last three years. Second, because the pre-Olympic tournament grants one more place per country (the Federation decides which athlete goes and which weight category). Finally, because in the competitions in which he has found himself well, he has obtained good results (silver in the Las Vegas Open before the first operation and in the first championship he did in -67 in 2017, two golds in 2018 and two bronzes in the Open of Turkey and Spain in 2019). The Manchester World Cup is the best of the windows. "I'm going to do the best I can because we trained well," he says. His sister Marta – who did not qualify for Rio but who is now the sixth in the ranking – also looks for a medal. Eva competes on Saturday; Marta will do it on Sunday.
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