UCAM makes history in Tokyo: 22 medallists and 31 diplomas
UCAM Universidad Católica de Murcia is the university with most athletes, both at the Olympics and Paralympics, in the world. Saúl Craviotto and Mireia Belmonte, at the opening ceremony, and Sandra Sánchez, at the closing ceremony, were Spain's Olympic flag bearers.
Fri, 10/09/2021 - 08:21
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have come to an end, and the world is now looking towards Paris 2024. The time to analyse and assess what has been achieved at these games has come. Games which, although held a year late and without any audience, have once again become the heart of world sport. The athletes who are part of the alliance between the Spanish Olympic Commitee and UCAM Universidad Católica de Murcia, made possible by their presidents Alejandro Blanco and José Luis Mendoza, have achieved magnificent results; twenty-two of them winning medals and thirty-one returning with a diploma.
In the Paralympic Games, which have just finished, there were five medallists: Susana Rodríguez (gold in triathlon), Gerard Descarrega and Guillermo Rojo (gold in 400 metres) and the swimmers Sarai Gascón (silver and bronze) and Teresa Perales (silver). In addition, twelve UCAM athletes have achieved a diploma, finishing in the top eight: Sarai Gascón (three), Teresa Perales (three), David Levecq (two) and José Antonio Marí (two) in swimming; the members of the Spanish wheelchair basketball team: Sonia Ruiz, Vicky Alonso, Isabel López, Lourdes Ortega and Beatriz Zudaire; and Susana Rodríguez, Gerard Descarrega and Guillermo Rojo in athletics.
Previously, the Olympians had also obtained superb results. Three of them returned from Tokyo with gold: Alberto Fernández and Fátima Gálvez (Olympic shooting) and Sandra Sánchez (karate). The biggest medal haul was silver: Saúl Craviotto, Marcus Cooper Walz, Rodrigo Germade, Carlos Arévalo and Teresa Portela (canoeing); Maialen Chourraut (slalom canoeing); Damián Quintero (karate); Andrea Cerezo (taekwondo); Ray Zapata (gymnastics); and Maica García and Irene González (water polo). And three of the 'Hispanos' from the handball team returned from Tokyo with bronze medals: Gedeón Guardiola, Ángel Fernández and Eduardo Gurbindo.
Furthermore, the high number of UCAM athletes who made it to the finals should also be taken into account. Nineteen of them have achieved an Olympic diploma which, although it may not have the prestige of a medal, does reflect the very high level of performance they have had in the Games, and how close they have been to extending their tally of medals: Mireia Belmonte and Hugo González (swimming); Ona Carbonell (artistic swimming); Saúl Craviotto, Carlos Arévalo, Paco Cubelos, Íñigo Peña, Cayetano García, Íñigo Martínez and Antía Jacome (canoeing); María Pérez, Mohamed Katir and Diego García Carrera (athletics); María López, Lola Riera and Bea Pérez (hockey); Laura Gil and Leo Rodríguez (basketball); and Nikoloz Sherazadishvili (judo).
These results confirm the great work and the commitment that UCAM and the COE have made to support athletes so that they can combine their studies and their sporting careers. Once again, UCAM is among the universities in the world with best results at Olympic Games and it is already looking towards Paris 2024 with the aim of continuing to support athletes and Spaniards in helping them achieve their dreams in sports as well as their academic goals.
UCAM technicians and doctors in the Spanish team
The Spanish team is more than just athletes. Among the technicians and doctors of the delegation, there was also an important number of UCAM representatives. Juan Francisco Abellán, professor of the University's Degree in Medicine, was once again the doctor for the Women's Basketball Team; José Antonio Carrillo, president and coach of UCAM Athleo Cieza, was part of the technical team of the Athletics Federation; Jesús del Moral is the coach of the Karate Team and Silvia Erdelyi, of UCAM Cartagena TM, is the coach of the Table Tennis Team. In the Paralympics, Dr. Tomás Fernández, professor of the UCAM Master's Degree in Sports Traumatology, was the head doctor of the Spanish delegation and Dr. Patricia Núñez, a student of the same Master's Degree, was with the men's wheelchair basketball team.
Olympic flag bearers
The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games saw the novelty of allowing countries to have two flag bearers, a man and a woman. For Spain, both were athletes from UCAM Universidad Católica de Murcia: canoeist Saúl Craviotto and swimmer Mireia Belmonte. At the closing ceremony, the honour of carrying the national flag could only go to one person, and the chosen one was the karateka Sandra Sánchez, also a UCAM athlete.