Mercedes Ortiz

Do you know what discipline was born in Spain in the 16th century? And the least practiced? Who is the highest paid athlete? What is the sports specialty that has won more medals? Spanish sport is much more than football and tennis, so we want to discover some of the curiosities that surround other less media practices, although full of success stories, epic triumphs and a considerable collection of medals

1. Judo, a champion factory

Of the important variety of martial arts practiced in our country, what many may not know is that judo is preferred by the Spaniards, with more than 100,000 licenses distributed in 1,000 clubs.

Spanish judo lives a particularly sweet moment. Proof of this is the high level of the national athletes of this discipline with names such as Nikoloz Sherazadishvili, a young Spaniard of Georgian origin who, at 22, is the first judo world champion in the history of Spain, or that of Maria Bernabeu, the talented Salmantina of 32 who has already written a gold page of Spanish judo after becoming judoca more laureate of the Spanish team With two world medals.

2. Canoeing, the discipline with the most medals

Many may not know that canoeing is, today, the sport that has accumulated the most medals in the history of national sport.

In fact, the paddler David Cal, although already retired, is the Spanish with the most laurels in history, although his name has not taken as many headlines as those of other elite athletes with more pull. The same happens to Teresa Portela, the best canoeist in the history of our country. This Pontevedra has managed to stay over twenty years in the elite. A figure that is not easy to achieve, especially since this 37-year-old girl and about thirty medals under her belt, combines competition and training with motherhood.

3.Spain, cradle of fencing

Fencing is, next to the Basque ball, the only sport born in Spain. It is true that it was a fairly common practice in countries such as France, England or Italy, but it was here that the first manuals on their technique were found.

There are some documented references about this discipline in the twelfth century BC, although it was not until the sixteenth century when the duels with swordsmen that have given rise to modern fencing became popular. Like judo, this type of combat sport also lives a very prominent moment in our country thanks to names like those of Madrid Araceli Navarro. At 31 years old, she has managed to be 12 times champion of Spain Senior.

4. Homeland surfing and women

Although not even in countries like the US or Australia is a mass sport, the truth is that in Spain the interest in surfing has grown like foam in recent decades. There were two Spaniards who began to popularize it in the 1960s, when they started to practice it in the Cantabrian with enough knowledge and an artisanal wooden board.

60 years later, there are 44,300 federated in our country according to data from the Spanish Surfing Federation. It is, although it does not seem so, an enormously important figure if we take into account that other more popular sports, such as paddle tennis, have around 70,000. But if there is something that, especially lately, this sport has achieved has been to break down gender barriers. The Spanish sportswoman who made history at the end of that glorious decade for the sport of the waves was Laura Revuelta, the santanderina who is considered the great precursor of female surfing in our country.

Today, his witness has been collected by other young athletes such as Bilbao Ariane Ochoa, European Under-18 champion for selections in 2016 and bronze medal in the world championship held in Australia of the junior category in 2017.

5.The highest paid Spanish athletes

After so much unfairly minority sport, it is time to talk about other much more popular disciplines, such as tennis that, despite demanding a huge delivery, its popularity has been translated into an unprecedented economic boom. In this step forward it is no secret that has had much to do Rafael Nadal, the best tennis player in our country, one of the best of all time and also, the highest paid athlete in Spain.

Along with Nadal are two other national athletes: the footballer Andres Iniesta, player of Vissel Kobe, with an estimated profit of 29.22 million euros, and the basketball player Marc Gasol, who now plays in the Toronto Raptors and that last year received 22.56 million euros.

6.Skate, a sport that breaks barriers

In the 21st century, there is no medium-sized city that does not have a skate park. Precisely in one of those parks in his hometown, Algeciras, Andrea Benítez, asked his neighbor to leave him a skate to try. I was 11 years old. 13 later, he hasn't gotten off of him yet and not only that: it is, today, the The only Spanish skate professional and undisputed precursor of this practice in our country.

7 athletic march, 20 years of break and a great resurgence

In Spain there is a great tradition with athletes who have managed to make history. It is the case of the Granada Paquillo Fernández, included in the list of the best athletes in the world.

Today, that legacy continues thanks to the tireless effort of other talented young marchers. It is the case of Madrid Diego Garcia, 24, who came to this specialty almost by chance, although it is, after rising runner-up in Europe of the 20 km march, one of the great promises of our sport. At the moment, desire and years to achieve it are not lacking.

All these examples are just a small sample that, beyond football and tennis, there are many sports stories that deserve to be told.