Spanish basketball player Lopez aims high at Beijing

July 16th, 2008 - 4:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, July 16 (Xinhua) Spanish basketball player Raul Lopez said that he was aiming to make up for lost time when he travels to the Olympic Games in Beijing. Now playing his basketball for Real Madrid, Lopez spend a frustrating time with the Utah Jazz, where a series of knee injuries threatened his career and kept him in the international wilderness for six years.

Although he was part of the Spain squad for Sydney 2000, Lopez missed out on the Athens Games and Spain’s World Championship win in Japan two years ago and was again on the sidelines as they finished runners-up in last year’s European Championships. Now he has the chance to put all that behind him in Beijing.

“Things happen and there is nothing you can do about it. I have missed out on a lot of basketball, more than I would have liked, but now I am going to enjoy myself in Beijing,” he said here Tuesday.

“I remember that when we were in Sydney, I was only 20 years old and there were players I really looked up to, but it was different then. Now Spain is among the favourites for any competition and that is a good thing,” explained Lopez, who hoped that the defeat in the European final to Russia will motivate the side.

“I wasn’t there, but it was hard for all of the players to miss out on the gold medal. However, this is a successful national side and we aim to keep things like that,” he said.

With his long injury history now in the past, Lopez believes the time has come for him to finally start to enjoy himself.

“It will be very easy to have better memories, even if I don’t do very much. But in truth I want to have a good time,” he said.

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