The FEDC honors athletes, technicians, journalists and entities for their work in 2023

The annual gala highlights the inclusion of disciplines and the promotion of sports among young people


The Spanish Federation of Sports for the Blind (FEDC) held its annual gala this Tuesday in which it recognized the work of athletes, technicians, entities and journalists who have worked throughout 2023 to advance the inclusion of all sports disciplines and promote sport among young people as a way of social integration.

The event, which took place at the ONCE Territorial Delegation in Madrid, was attended by the president of the ONCE Social Group and the Spanish Paralympic Committee (CPE), Miguel Carballeda; the advisor to the presidential cabinet of the Higher Sports Council (CSD), Nerea Huete; and the president of the FEDC, Ángel Luis Gómez. Prominent blind athletes and technicians from the Federation itself also gathered.

During the gala, a video was shown with the characteristics of the sport practiced by blind people and their path to reaching the Paris 2024 Games. Plaques were also presented in recognition of the effort, support and achievements achieved during the last year of competition. And the career of athletes and entities that during 2023 have demonstrated their commitment to sport practiced by blind or visually impaired people was awarded.

In this sense, José Manuel Mendo, a law graduate and INEF who left his career as a lawyer on hold 32 years ago to be part of the ONCE staff, as a specialist teacher in Physical Education within the Educational Resources Center, was awarded as the best coach. of ONCE in Madrid.

“It has managed to instill a love for sport and practicing sports in thousands of blind students, providing this essential tool to make them more autonomous, improve themselves day by day and enhance teamwork,” the FEDC indicated in a press release.

“For the Federation it has been an important asset to have the collaboration of this great professional to train, polish and make great athletes shine, feeding the quarry with future promises,” added the note about the role played by Mendo.

In the athlete category, the FEDC recognized the shooter Ager Solabarrieta along with his guide and wife Maite Badiola, as well as the athlete Nagore Folgado with his guide Javier Zaplana. Solabarrieta and Badiola won gold in the World Cup in 2022 and two other gold medals in the European Championship. And this year they started with silver and bronze in the European Championship, and won two gold medals in the recent World Cup held in Lima (Peru).

For their part, Folgado and Zaplana are preselected for the next Paralympic Games in Paris. This year they won bronze in the 100 meters at the World Cup in Paris. She was eighth in the final of the Tokyo 2020 Games, and won gold and bronze in the 100 and 200 meters at the European Championships held in 2021.

As a young promise, Álex Villarejo, 19 years old, was awarded, who in 2022 achieved a second multi-disability place in the junior category during the AXA Spanish Youth Swimming Championships. He was selected to participate in the European Youth Games, where he made silver in the 100 meter breaststroke.

Villarejo has been training at the Terrasa Swimming Club since this year and his performance has improved to the point of lowering the national record in the 50 breaststroke, both in the 25 and 50 meter pool. This ensured his participation in the World Championships in Manchester (United Kingdom), achieving a bronze with a Spanish record in the 100 breaststroke; he was fifth in the 100 backstroke and sixth in both the 50 and 100 free.


Similarly, the FEDC recognized the Spanish Navy for having transferred part of its facilities to the training of blind athletes. And in the media category, the FEDC gave the award to ‘Relevo’, highlighting that “since its birth a little over a year ago, it has been interested in minority sports, highlighting news and reports from the Paralympic world and its protagonists.” “.

“Its content and informative treatment have a focus aimed at the youngest generation of our society, a fundamental element so that Paralympic sport in general and that practiced by blind people in particular, is known by the youngest,” stressed the FEDC. about ‘Relay’.

The ONCE Educational Resources Center in Madrid was also awarded “for its constant collaboration” with the FEDC “in the promotion of sport and its involvement, especially with youth, with activities such as swimming, 5-a-side soccer and soccer training. judo”. It has been the headquarters of the three editions of the Sports Weekend Conference, the children’s and youth goalball championship and the Spanish youth championship and the 2023 youth chess concentration.

During the gala, a special mention was also made to the young man with visual disabilities Diego Rodríguez. At only 10 years old he is already the Asturias junior champion, he achieved three golds in the Principality Sports Games and in the Villa de Cangas del Narcea Trophy, in addition to achieving gold in the Final of the Iberdrola League. He was Grand Winner 2022 by the Royal Spanish Karate Federation and was part of the ‘Discovering talents’ concentration of the national Paralympic karate team.