Countdown to the European triathlon in Pontevedra
e are already in the middle of the week of the European triathlon. The countdown has begun for the celebration, in Pontevedra, of a new edition of the European Championship that will take place from June 24 to 26, and there is not a minute of respite. The more than 600 volunteers who work in the organization of the event do it against the clock so that everything is prepared. Galicia is a world power, it is the community that will contribute the most athletes to this year's competition and everyone wants it to be a party.
Pontevedra has already held the 2008, 2009 and 2010 European Cups, with more than 300 athletes and an audience of more than 35.000 people throughout the circuit. The city has experience in large sports celebrations, but this edition has become a challenge and the organization is finalizing the last details.
The work on the athletics stadium of the Galician Sports Technification Center continues without pause. Yesterday the assembly of the bench was completed, which will increase the capacity of the athletics stadium by 1750 seats. And those organized wanted to thank the volunteers, the undisputed protagonists of these previous days. "The volunteer has been the first success of the European", said Federation sources.
But will not be the one. The other success will surely come from the great figures of the Galician triathlon who participate in the championship and who, a priori, are presented as favourites. Marisol Casado, president of the International Triathlon Federation, predicted a resounding success. "Here are all the ingredients for success," she pointed out during the event's presentation ceremony, held at the Novacaixagalicia headquarters. “The organizing committee knows what they are doing, the city is beautiful and the perfect size, and its citizens support the sport,” she said.
GALICIA, WORLDWIDE POWER
What is clear is that the Galician triathlon is going. The results, week by week, give good proof of this reality. The rankings both at the individual and club level confirm this. In fact, Javier Gómez Noya made history by becoming the youngest triathlete in the world to win a World Cup and to his credit he has already had 12, in addition to three World Series. For Pontevedra, he arrives with renewed strength. He decided to suspend his participation in the World Cup event, which was held in Austria last week and lose his leadership to reach the competition with the sole objective of winning. His club, Cidade de Lugo Fluvial, is first in the ranking of Spanish clubs and he is already a legend in this sport.
But this new edition of the European Championship comes to show that in Galicia there are figures and also youth teams. Of the 19 Spanish athletes who will compete, seven are Galician. That is, almost 40%. The rest of the Spanish federations are very far from matching this figure. Catalonia contributes three athletes; Euskadi, Madrid and Castilla La Mancha, two, and Andalusia, the Balearic Islands and Extremadura, one.
In the elite event, Javier Gómez Noya and Iván Raña –also world champion– are the favorite triathletes to win. Together with them they will compete Mario Mola –second in the European Cup in Pontevedra in 2010–, Ramón Ejea and José Miguel Pérez. For none of them, however, it will be easy to achieve victory against the Brownlee brothers who, with a very high level, pose a threat to the Galicians.
For its part, in the female elite, Galicia will be represented by Marta Jiménez, from the City of Lugo, Ainhoa Murúa, Zuriñe Rodríguez, Marina Damlaimcorut and María Pujol.
The activities that will accompany the competition will begin today. At nine in the morning the paratriathlon classifiers course will begin, which will enable doctors and physiotherapists to classify triathletes. The course will be taught by British Penny Broomhead to six students, two of whom are Spanish.
One of the problems of paratriathlon is having classifying doctors, who are the ones who decide the degree of disability and which category the athletes should participate in. In this modality there are more and more participants. It is already a Paralympic Sport and will be in Rio de Janeiro 2016. And Galicia has Susana Rodríguez, who is on her way to becoming one of the greats in this sport.
Continuity, meanwhile, is also assured with the quarry. Four are the great values of Galicia: Diego Paz from Ponteare; Roberto Barral, from Trazo, and the sisters Camila and Meilina Alonso, from Ferrol. Success is assured.