The Spain men and women’s senior, junior and youth water polo national teams have been awarded with six medals this summer.
Spanish water polo has experienced the most successful summer in its history. Although we were already used to the women’s national team achieving great successes, such as the silver medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games, the gold in the 2013 Barcelona World Championships or, more recently, the silver medal in the Budapest World Championships 2017, this year the men’s team have stepped up with a historic silver at the Europeans in Barcelona. Six teams, three different cateogories and six medals. That’s what we could call a strike.
Since David Martín became the new coach for the men’s national team after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, he said the goal was to be in full form for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He wanted to shape a team with a long term objective, but before the Olympics they had to face the Europeans in Barcelona. After a disappointing ninth place in the last 2017 Budapest World Championships, Martín opted to renew the team and incorporated a group of young players who have led a necessary generational change. Figures such as Álvaro Granados, Roger Tahull and Álex Bustos have taken a step forward and have become key players for the team.
Javier Sánchez Toril’s youth team got the silver in the World Championships that took place in Szombathely (Hungary), while the juniors, with Tato Garcia in charge, took the bronze in the European Championships.
The women’s teams didn’t fell short either. After falling in the semifinals against Greece, the senior team clinched the bronze at the Europeans at home. The girls of Miki Oca never get tired of winning metals. In lower categories, both the youth team in the World Championships, and the junior in the Europeans, took the gold medals in their respective competitions.
The result of many years efforts
As stated by the Royal Spanish Federation in La Vanguardia, this great harvest of medals is not the result of the emergence of large generations of athletes or coaches of the highest level. “It is the work of more than eight years and with many people behind”: Figures such as Gaspar Ventura, who was responsible for the water polo area until two years ago, or Quim Colet, former technical director of the Catalan Swimming Federation and current sports director of BIWPA.
It is also a success of the technification centers where all young talents are trained and prepared so that they can one day compete with the senior team. Obviously, when we talk about high-performance centers, the CAR of Sant Cugat is the crown Jewel. Located on the outskirts of Barcelona, the high performance center has become the best Spanish water polo talent factory.