A historic moment for the FEDDF. Another sport in which Spain makes its debut at an international level.
All the sports that are part of our structure have the support for its international development, although it is a more laborious process for team sports. Wheelchair rugby has been on in our country for a decade and now it is the moment for the Spanish national team to start competing in the international arena.
We are making our debut and undertaking the responsibility of organizing the European Championship. Do we like great challenges?
Spain has a very good reputation among international institutions for people with physical disabilities of any kind. The IWRF is very enthusiastic about us becoming a landmark, also in terms of organization; we are just starting but I am positive there will be more team events and we can expect the clubs to, little by little, take the steps to make it possible for international competitions to take place here likewise.
Does accepting the organization of a European Championship require the involvement of many people and institutions?
Any international event requires the involvement, first, of a human team that can develop it in the different organizational areas (hotel, sport facilities, transport, voluntary work…), and second, but not least, of the combination of public institutions and private companies for funding. In our case, the public part has been incredibly welcomed by the City Council of Oviedo and the Principado de Asturias, the private one has counted on the support and trust of Fundación ONCE, Obra Social La Caixa and Tartiere Auto.
What can be expected from the national team’s first official appointment?
Due to my position, I do not like to set sport targets for the teams or sportspeople that represent the FEDDF at an international level. Obviously, we always try to get the best result and to transfer the investment made along the process onto high standard competition, but I have been a sportsman, I still consider myself one, and there are many factors that can influence success. When making one’s debut in events like these, the important point is to gain experience and gather positive feelings as a team, as matches move on. I am certain Spain will play a good role.
Wheelchair rugby is proving to be a sport on the rise. How does the FEDDF see this progression?
Along with paddle, it is one of the sports that has grown the most in the last few years, both in terms of licenses and sport events. The work done by the Regional Federations and clubs, supported by the Wheelchair Rugby National Committee of the FEDDF, is encouraging more and more people with physical disabilities to approach this sport and more and more cities to give green light to creating new teams.
What would you say to encourage the people in Oviedo to come to the Hermanos Cechini Sport Centre?
Whenever we talk about adapted sport, I tell people to give themselves the opportunity to live it in situ, to come along to the Sport Centre to see a first-class sport event where, I am sure, any possible prejudices will be left behind and they will be able to enjoy all the excitement and dynamism provided by wheelchair rugby.