Spanish teams are full of reasons to explain the explosion that allows them to reach their historic climax on the long and winding road to the Olympics. “We are looking for life.” Carlos Fever, the women’s handball coach, who was added to the team to designate by winning the pre-Olympics held last weekend in Llíria (Valencia), says that non-professional sports like football or basketball are the inventor Resources: “Without a doubt, we are in the golden age of Spanish sport, based on the fact that we have the best clubs in the world,” explains Alejandro Blanco, President of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE).
There were not so many Spanish teams that qualified, 11, for the games, Barcelona 92 separately, as they competed as hosts. Women’s handball joins the men’s team. Both have credentials that allow them to look to the podium in Tokyo: they won a silver medal at the 2019 World Cup, which was specifically held in Japan and reconfirmed the European title in 2020. Success and prospects are similar in basketball, water polo, hockey, gymnastics – by degree. Less – the sport in which Spain will compete in both classes, as well as men’s football. Three teams are still fighting for a place in the pre-Olympic tournament, women’s 3 × 3 basketball (May 26-29 in Graz, Austria), art swimming (May 1-4 in Tokyo) and rhythmic gymnastics (to be determined) . Australia and the United States are the only two teams to have more than a dozen teams for the upcoming games, although they may add more depending on the pre-Olympics.
Several Spanish teams are extending their stay in the global elite despite shortcomings in club competition and financial difficulties. This is the case in the handball tournaments, especially the women’s tournaments. “Clubs have to get better marketingAnd publishing and professionalizing the structures as we did, ”explains Francisco Blázquez, President of the Spanish Handball Federation.“ The classification of the two teams is a success. The female was able to interact after a difficult and European year [fue novena, en diciembre de 2020] In which you may have noticed the absence of Chandi Barbosa. They solved the pre-Olympic Games with solvency and showed why they were called Warriors. “
Jordi Ribera, the men’s handball coach, focuses his efforts on talent scouting, the most thorough preparation and analysis of opponents and the development of playing style. “Throughout history, the success of the national team has not necessarily been linked to fairly strong internal competition,” he notes. “The most important thing is for players to appear and take care of them wherever they are. Many of the best have not been in Asobal for a long time, which is what we would like, but, not like that, what we want is to compete in the best possible places, in a good environment.”
Frederic Soyes, a 43-year-old Frenchman, runs the Spanish men’s field hockey team. He says some of his colleagues ask him, intrigued by the secret of a country, with only 16,000 licenses, capable of competing with powers such as Germany, the Netherlands, and Australia, with more than 200,000 federations, or India, with a half-million. “The success of the national teams is not isolated, and the Spanish athlete has character and professionalism. There is a good foundation. We know what is there and try to maximize our chances,” says the coach of the team, who finished fifth in Rio 2016 and second in Europe in 2019. He believes The coach of the women’s team, the Dutch Adrian Locke, said that the culture of the clubs, which have great family roots, found in this sport as well as in water polo, must be taken advantage of, and which partly addresses the disadvantage of being a minority sport. The level is high. There is a high level of referrals from Enter Technical – tactical, ” confirms the person in charge of the team that finished eighth in Rio and won bronze medals in the 2018 World Cup and European Championship 2019.
Blanco notes the common denominator in the success of the Spanish teams: “Competitiveness and the spirit of great sacrifice characterize our athletes. They know how to put individual quality at the service of the team, which is something other countries cannot, because of their DNA or anything else. The key to success is mentality. It is about competition, there are no differences between the so-called professionals and the so-called amateurs. “
Basketball teams maintain their lead. In the men’s category, the gold medal in the last World Cup in 2019 was his eleventh in major tournaments since the 2006 World Cup in Japan. In the women’s category, Spain shines with Olympic silver in Rio, world bronze in 2018, and two golds in Europe in 2017 and 2019.
Volleyball requires more resources
The volleyball team participated in the games only twice, in 1992 and 2000, and will be absent again in Tokyo. “After football, it is the most popular sport in the world,” warns the president of the Spanish Federation, Augustin Martin. The team represents Spain, not the Federation, which is why it should get more financial support from administrations. They must be paid by, not on the basis of results. However, it is not an excuse. We’ll do something wrong. “
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