‘The University of Sport' is how UCAM is known in Spain and in Europe for its commitment to the sports field from all aspects. 2016 was the year of the consecration of this nickname, which reflects the tireless work and the strong commitment that is made from the teaching institution in favor of athletes. The Rio Olympic Games, the successes of UCAM's professional teams, its hegemony at the University of Spain Championships, and the important achievements of its researchers, constitute a 2016 that will go down in history as the year in which the UCAM gave the great Olympic leap.
The second university in the world, with more medals in the Rio Games 2016, will forever be marked in the history of the Catholic University of Murcia. More than sixty UCAM athletes participated in the Olympic events and the results were spectacular, with fifteen Olympic medals (plus nine diplomas) and nine Paralympic medals (plus three diplomas). Teresa Perales, (one gold, three silver and two diplomas), Mireia Belmonte (gold, bronze and diploma), Saúl Craviotto (gold and bronze), Maialen Chourraut (gold), Ruth Beitia Marcus Cooper Walz (gold), Cristian Toro (gold next to Craviotto), Gerard Descarrega (gold), Eva Calvo (silver), Artemi Gavezou (silver), Laura Gil (silver), Francine Niyonsaba (silver), José Manuel Ruiz (silver), Alfonso Cabello (two bronze), Joel González (bronze), Lidia Valentín (bronze), Carlos Coloma (bronze) and David Casinos (bronze), reached Olympic glory and placed the UCAM as the Olympic University of excellence in Europe, only surpassed worldwide by Stanford (United States).
In addition, Mario Mola, an athlete from UCAM that obtained a diploma in the Games, made history, when becoming, for the first time, world champion of triathlon. UCAM Murcia CB ended a historic season in the League Endesa and in the Top 16 of the Eurocup. The UCAM Murcia CB completed the best season of its thirty plus years of history. For the first time, they held a positive balance of victories and losses (18-16) at ACB, allowing him to make his debut in the play-off for the league title with eight teams and play, for the first time in his history, the Eurocup competition. Despite his status as a rookie, he has qualified for the Top 16.
UCAM Murcia CF: Promotion to Professional Football
The UCAM Murcia CF, after becoming champions of group IV of Second B, obtained the league championship of Second Division B, in which they opposed eighty teams, and obtained the ascent to the second category of Spanish soccer (LaLiga 1 | 2 | 3). The university club is now struggling to adapt to the leap to professional football and maintain the category, but in the Copa del Rey, has also experienced another historic moment when, playing for the first time, the six deuces and final against a rival of the Primera División (LaLiga Santander) and Europa League, Celta de Vigo.
UCAM Cartagena Table Tennis, the club with more titles in the Region, expands its showcases.
In table tennis, the UCAM Cartagena has also succeeded in 2016. The women's team reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and managed to add a new title, the Cup of the Queen. The men added, by winning Liga and Cup. Both teams closed 2016 leading the domestic competition, Spanish University Championships, and as the leader with 114 medals.
As the University of Sport, UCAM has maintained its dominion of the last years, surpassing again, the one hundred medals in the Championships of Spain. With 114 metals (71 gold, 31 silver and 12 bronze), the Catholic University of Murcia was first in the standings, clearly surpassing the rest. The Polytechnic University of Madrid (40 medals) and the University of Malaga (20 medals) were second and third respectively.
UCAM's determined commitment to top-level research and teaching has also been reflected in sport. For this reason, the European Union, through the European Athlete Student network, congratulated the UCAM for its achievements in research and sports management.
In 2016 there have been numerous UCAM investigations related to sport, including: the study on drugs most used in doping cases (national prize in the Congress of Sports Medicine), a European project to face social exclusion through sport, sports nutrition research to test the effectiveness of certain compounds when exercising, research to determine how mental fatigue affects decision-making in football players, another on the importance of physical training on combat pilots to improve their skills, and the development of a tool that allows coaches and physical trainers to have important data of their athletes in real time during training.