Laura Gil, a full return to basketball two years after rupturing her Achilles tendon | Basketball | Sports

Basketball has given Laura Gil (Murcia, 31 years old) many gorings. Very serious injuries – a rupture of the Achilles tendon and another of the cruciate ligament of the knee – or a horrible storm of hate on social networks after falling in the Tokyo 2020 Games in the quarterfinals. But the orange ball has given him much more glory. Her collection of medals is stunning: three golds in the Eurobasket, in addition to a second place and a third, an Olympic silver, another world silver and a world bronze. A tally of nine medals with Spain, in 11 years, which she hopes to increase next summer in Paris, in her third Games. And to all that, she adds her history in different clubs in which she has won all possible titles: Euroleague, Eurocup, League, Queen’s Cup (also the Cup in France) and Super Cup.

The Murcian center arrives in Huelva with the intention of embracing her fifth Queen’s Cup, which would be the eleventh for her club, Perfumerías Avenida, the most successful. And both she and her team appear in great shape. Gil has been especially inspired in the last few games and the Salamanca team has eight consecutive victories in the League, in addition to passing the first test in the quarterfinals: (66-56) against Gernika. Casademont Zaragoza, current champion, awaits this Saturday. On the other side of the table is Valencia Basket, which has taken a leap in quality since signing the Ukrainian Alina Iagupova, two-time Euroleague MVP, in the winter. She “she is a differential player. Right now, in Spain, there is no other player who looks like her. Physically, because she can change games and because she is very difficult to defend. We have one path, Valencia another and it is clear that for basketball a final between these two teams would be very nice, but I am clear that the two that play in the final will be the ones that deserve it.”

Although Laura Gil doesn’t like running that much. Sport has shown her that her predictions are false notes and that the best thing to do is to think day by day: “We want to win the Cup because on top of that it is a very nice competition, with a great atmosphere. This competition requires us to be at the highest level for three days in a row.”

The future, with the Cup, the outcome of the League and, deeper down, the Paris Games, is clear before this 31-year-old woman who two years ago, on February 23, 2022, saw the sky suddenly darken when he ruptured the Achilles tendon in his left foot. That day, after having played eight minutes on the IDK Euskotren court, her life changed without warning. “It was very hard and you even wonder if you will play again. Until I was three months old, I couldn’t take more than ten steps without having to stop. You know you’re going to walk again, it’s clear, but on top of that I had complications during the operation, her wound became infected and it hurt even more when walking. And at that moment everything is fear because it is one of the worst injuries you can have, and it scares you to even think about who is going to take the dog down.”

As if they knew they were talking about him, Wonder, the Perfumerías Salamanca player’s black German shepherd, starts barking because the neighbor’s cats invade his garden. Laura Gil explains by phone that the dog was given to her between the Tokyo Games and the rupture of her Achilles tendon. Two traumatic moments in the middle of a path full of flowers. The center had a poor performance in the quarterfinals against France and at the end of the game, with Spain eliminated, she picked up the phone, opened her Twitter account and faced a wave of very cruel insults and criticism. The Spanish player, before closing her networks, wrote a comment: “Everyone has the right to their opinion, but not all opinions are respectable.”

Now, with the perspective that time gives, that trauma is overcome, although the notifications are still disabled… A shield for his soul. “Now it’s more than over. It is true that there (in the Tokyo Games) you are in a bubble and on top of that it was a very hard summer because we had fallen in the European Championship in Valencia. We didn’t even qualify for the World Cup. Come on, we already arrived at those Games with a backpack. Then France beat us and it wasn’t my best game, to be honest, but now I see that it is still a team sport and that it was everyone’s responsibility. Some of us like potato omelette with onion and others without, but that doesn’t mean we should insult those who don’t like it. There I saw that we are very exposed on social networks: everyone has a voice to give their opinion, but they do not always do so with respect.”

Laura Gil empathized with María Vicente when the young athlete tore her Achilles tendon, running towards the high jump bar, at the last World Cup in Glasgow, on the first day of March. “In her case it is even harder because she practices athletics, which is an individual sport, and she experiences her greatest moment every four years, in the Olympic Games. That’s why I feel terrible for her, but María is a champion and she’s going to achieve it. Although, yes, she has a very hard first few months ahead of her.”

The basketball player’s injury had another point of pain. Her breakup came a few months before her contract expired. She waited for a gesture of solidarity from her club, Valencia Basket, but they did not renew her commitment and she was left without a team. “They have their opinion and I have mine. I’m not hurt anymore, but they were very complicated moments and you look very alone. There was no conversation between the club and me. But, well, that allowed me to go to France – she signed for Landes – and win a Cup in Paris. And that’s what I’m left with, that I came back in a big way.”

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