The National Sports Gala honors its great stars at the Teatro Circo de Albacete


The XLIII National Sports Gala, organized by the Spanish Sports Press Association (AEPD), awarded the best athletes of last year and honored its great stars this Monday on the attractive stage of the Teatro Circo de Albacete.

The event, with the collaboration of the Albacete Provincial Council, the Albacete City Council and the Junta de Castilla La Mancha, featured figures from the past, present and future of national sport, with the Paris 2024 Olympic Games just around the corner. the corner.

The gala, which next year will be in Valladolid, also had the presence and participation of the Minister of Education, Vocational Training and Sports, Pilar Alegría; the first vice president of the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha, José Luis Martínez Guijarro; the mayor of Albacete, Manuel Serrano; and the president of the Higher Sports Council (CSD), José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes.

Under the company of pianist Juan Antonio Simarro, the gala did not stop with emotions since the soccer player Andrés Iniesta was the first honoree. The man from La Mancha, in video connection from the Persian Gulf, started alongside the images of José Antonio Camacho shouting “Iniesta of my life”, when the footballer scored the goal that gave Spain the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Fourteen years after that title, this Monday the statue was unveiled in Albacete to immortalize the figure of Iniesta and to honor him, Pilar Alegría, the president of the AEPD, Julián Redondo, Camacho himself and the player’s father, José Antonio, took the stage. Iniesta.

“It is an Olympic year, the athletes’ calendar is difficult, but for the first time in our 70 years we were going to celebrate a gala in Castilla La Mancha and it deserved all possible efforts,” said Julián Redondo. “We came to Albacete because Andrés Iniesta wanted to be a prophet in his land and the AEPD agreed with all the institutions to uncover his statue,” he acknowledged.

“That World Cup belongs to all of us,” said Iniesta, who at 40 years old still plays soccer. “There’s little left, but I continue to take care of myself and football continues to excite me even though the clock is against us,” he stated.

On the other hand, the aquatic disciplines were protagonists with the successes of artistic swimming at the Fukuoka 2023 World Cup, with the medalists Iris Tió, Alisa Ozhogina, Mireia Hernández, Emma Garcíaa and Dennis González. The men’s water polo coach, David Martín, and the internationals Pilar Peña and Isabel Piralkova received the award for the successes of both teams for both the European gold in Croatia and the bronze in Fukuoka for the men, as well as the world silver for the women. The president of the Royal Spanish Swimming Federation (RFEN), Fernando Carpena, was recognized for his work at the head of the federative entity.

On the other hand, basketball occupied a prominent place during the event with the recognition of Real Madrid for adding a new Euroleague in 2023, with a white legend like Felipe Reyes receiving the award. In addition, there was recognition, on the 40th anniversary of the Olympic silver, for the Spanish men’s team, represented on the stage of the Teatro Circo by Juan Antonio Corbalán, José Manuel Beirsen, José Luis Llorente and Fernando Romay.

The Amiab Albacete wheelchair basketball team, European champions for the third consecutive time, was awarded and the players on its team received a standing ovation.

The Conciliation and Sports award was presented by the president of the Higher Sports Council (CSD), José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, to the former Olympic swimmer Gemma Mengual and the former rhythmic gymnast, Olympic gold in Atlanta 1996, Tania Lamarca.

On the other hand, the engine was present with Cristina Gutiérrez, winner of the Dakar 2024 in the challenger category, being the second woman in history to win a Dakar, who was recognized by the AEPD along with the Spanish women’s roller hockey team, which was proclaimed European champion, represented by the players Sara Roces, Marta Piquero and Sara Lolo.

These same players collected the award for also belonging to the Telecable Gijón women’s roller hockey team, together with the club’s sports director, Fernando Sierra, for achieving the continental title.

Honored as ‘Legends’ were former cyclists Dori Ruano, world champion, and Joane Somarriba, winner of three Tours de France, along with former tennis player Feliciano López. In this section, the founder of Joma, Fructuoso López, was also recognized.

The values ​​in sport were highlighted at the gala through the awards to LaLiga FCFutures and Liga Megacracks and La Quiniela and Dr. Aldo Martínez, who received the Sports Medicine award, were honored.

Regarding football, the AEPD wanted to recognize Palma Futsal, winner of the Intercontinental Cup and double European futsal champion, whose award was collected by Antonio Vadillo, the team’s coach; and the referee Guadalupe Porras, the first woman to serve as an assistant referee in the First Division.

In addition, Real Madrid was highlighted for its victory in the 2023 Copa del Rey, FC Barcelona as league champion and Sevilla FC for the seventh Europa League, remembering on the other hand the successes of the national soccer teams, both women’s and men’s, in the Nations League.

The awards were collected by Santi Denia, under-21 coach, and Kenio Gonzalo, under-17 women’s coach. The Albacete soccer player Alba Redondo, also by videoconference, received a standing ovation from the audience.

In the final stretch of the gala, the nod was for the next Paris 2024 Games with the Olympic athletes Tania Lamarca, Lydia Valentín, Ruth Beitia, Thaïs Henríquez, who starred in a musical performance at the end, Lourdes Mohedano, Jennifer Pareja, Noemí Romero , Juan Antonio Corbalán, Fernando Romay, José Luis Llorente, David Cal and Manuel Guijarro.

The closing was carried out by Minister Alegría, who highlighted the “values” that athletes transmit and the importance of the sports press so that they can go far, also being a reflection of the changes that society is experiencing, such as in terms of equality.