By Caoilte de Barra
If you go back a few years, if Spain entered a team into an IMMAF tournament, they would be seen as an underdog. However, as time has gone on they have established themselves as one of the most talented teams in the competition and their entries tend to compete with the very best. As a result of this, they find themselves battling for medals regularly.
This is no different at the 2021 IMMAF World Championships, where they are confirmed to walk away with three medals. Juan Izquierdo, Rafael Calderon Coria and Carla Medina all remain in the competition for the semi-finals. Following Wednesday’’s performances, Head Coach Israel Adrados explained they have high expectations of their athletes.
“We have high expectations, we are like that.”
Talk of medals was not the main talking point for the Head Coach. Medals are a great sign of achievement, however, there is more to this for him and the federation. They use the sport to direct youths off the street and help set them on another path.
“We know the work we have to do and it’s very hard and difficult”, he began.
“We have a lot of difficulties in our country. And I’m not talking about our Federation, we are very capable with our federation but we know what kind of work we do here and we work very hard.”
“Six people who came here came from the same hood in Madrid. There are lots of social problems in the area. We take youth from this area and make fighters out of them.”
“I’d like this to be known because it’s a point that is important about why we are strong..”
Adrados is proud of the fighters that traveled to represent Spain. He credits the recovery process that is in place. Designed to help keep their fighters ready to compete day in day out.
“We take the fighter to the hotel even after the fight. And our fighter will go shadow boxing for maybe 30 minutes. Then we take our fighters to eat and then take a little rest. We then do a massage and take a sauna to help reset before going to sleep.”
“The morning after, we would get up at 6:30 and start all over again.”
Both Izquierdo and Calderon Croia are well established on the IMMAF circuit. And there is also a new talent emerging in the women’s junior Featherweight division in Carla Medina, who is rated very highly.
“We have great expectations of her. Medina is a very talented fighter.”
The work Spain does is incredible, from the streets of Spain to the bright lights of the World Championship. They rarely disappoint and are growing year by year. They will take to the semi-finals tomorrow in an effort to get one step closer to a World Championship.