The Spanish archers exiled in Turkey: "We must continue training for the Olympic Games"

“If in Spain a place to train was enabled, we would return”, assures the technical director of the national team.

The Spanish archery federation reacted quickly and visually last week, before the entire country fell under alarm. While the sport was closing , at the end of the halls, gyms and swimming pools, eight shooters and two technicians flew to Turkey to continue training. «We met with the Higher Sports Council and decided to advance the trip we had planned by 10 days. We were here already on March 13, ”explains Rubén Montes , the technical director of the national archery team.

Gone are the rest of the modalities, waiting to get a special permit to maintain the preparation in Spain for the appointment of the year. “Until the Olympic flame goes out, we have to continue training,” says Montes. The International Federation reminded them yesterday of the insistence of the IOC and Japan to save the Games .

Only they have managed to go into exile in all Spanish sports. They left masks, uncertainty and infections behind to isolate themselves in one of the last remaining coronavirus-free redoubts in Europe. The stain, yes, has ended up reaching Turkey . After suspending flights to various destinations -Spain between them-, yesterday closed its borders with Greece and Bulgaria to curb a pandemic that so far has only caused in its territory a hundred cases and one deceased. “The World Cup event was suspended this coming weekend, but we have been authorized to train,” says Montes, pending the new restrictions that the Erdogan government is preparing to establish in the country.


So far, the Spanish team works alone in a field near their hotel, in this Ottoman tourist enclave on the shores of the Mediterranean. “If they close it, the Turkish Federation has invited us to join their rally, an hour from here. They assure that they will be able to continue training no matter what happens », says the technical director.

The team’s initial plan was to be in Antalya until April 6. “If in Spain a place to train was enabled, we would return. But if not, we would try to continue here, as long as they help the Federation with the expense that this entails, “asks Montes, looking at the highest levels of national sport. Like gymnasts or swimmers, a bow shooter would be dry at home, unable to practice, beyond some physical exercises. “It would take a high ceiling, having the parapet at home, an adequate distance …”, Montes explains about a precision specialty and frozen nerves: it consists of hitting a target located 70 meters away.

The Spanish archers, in their online session with the psychologist.
The Spanish archers, in their online session with the psychologist. RFETA

The apparent Turkish calm these days has not relaxed our archers. “Everything is very quiet around here, it seems as if nothing is happening, but we are taking precautionary measures,” recalls Miguel Alvariño , the only one with a guaranteed place for the Tokyo Games – the women’s and team category is still in game-. To avoid closed spaces, they go walking, instead of by minibus, to the training center. They also traveled with protective equipment, from the mask to the disinfectant gel that everyone carries with them.

“We talk to the family, which reassures us. They try to focus on training, without worrying,” says Alvariño. In the afternoons, everyone connects with theirs in Spain. They are also attached to the screen for the ‘online’ sessions with the CAR psychologist, Pablo del Río , the same as Carolina Marín and many other Olympic medalists. “They are very tough athletes mentally. Archery requires performing under pressure and controlling external agents. They are handling this situation quite well,” says the technical director.

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