In the Blume residence of the high performance center of Madrid the dining room opens at 7 o'clock in the morning. At that time, the well-known "early bird shift" breakfast. Alejandra Quereda, silver in the rhythmic set at the Rio GamesI was one of them. The gymnast, who today is 26 years old and has become the youngest coach of the Spanish team, got up early to go running to class or to an exam. He combined the 8-9 hours of daily training with a medical career. Now it is in sixth and only the call of Jesus Carballo, president of the Federation, has taken it out of the books. About a month ago, she was offered the position of individual rhythm selector. This morning has been the official presentation.
"It's a radical change because my life until now was being medicine. I hope to finish the race this year. My plans for the immediate future were to start preparing the MIR and to present myself in 2020. In the last month and a half there has been a radical change. But I think there are opportunities that happen once in a lifetime and you have to take that train. That's why I decided to accept this challenge, "says Quereda, sitting in one of the meeting rooms of the Superior Council of Sports. "The MIR does not even think about it because it is incompatible, I will finish my degree, I am in the sixth grade, the course that has the least subjects, and other years I have faced worse challenges, such as studying training 8-9 hours and at the same time taking more of a course even, "he adds.
When asked how he imagines himself away from books, he says: "I like medicine a lot, but I have to be honest with myself, nowadays gymnastics pulls me down more." He started with gymnastics when he was 6 years old. He left her after the Rio Games. He endured months with pains from a hip injury and decided to have surgery after the Olympic event. "I'm still with the rehabilitation, I have a few months left and I hope to be recovered at least to make a normal life. This injury was not going to allow me to continue competing and after going through the operating room I was even clearer, "he says. It spreads energy. He says that when he received the call from Carballo, the first thing he thought was his youth and inexperience.
"It is a daring bet yes, but I was appointed president of the Federation with thirty and a few and my youth and lack of experience in a certain sense helped me to have the clearest and unconditional ideas. In the case of Alejandra is the same, apart from that we were always surprised by her maturity, not according to her age, the fact that she was not part of a technical team gives her the chance to say: 'I start from scratch'. She does not have any acquired habit and that will make her very objective, "explains the president of the Federation.
Concerned about better structuring the individual rhythm, Carballo thought about Quereda. She has always worked together, not individually, but both argue that the basis is the same. "Until now we have had different training centers with coaches who have worked very well and who have brought gymnasts to the elite, but we believe that coordination is necessary to have a common planning, so that all the coaches of Spain know what the project is of the federation ", analyzes Carballo.
While the rhythm as a whole has a single center of training and concentration (the CAR of Madrid) the individual will have three: the CAR of Barcelona, León and a center in Valencia. Quereda will coordinate the work of these centers with a view to the Paris Games2024 and to recover the level of Spanish rhythm. The only Olympic medal harvested in individual is that of Carolina Pascual in Barcelona 92.
"My work is different from that of a coach [que está 8 horas entrenando en un pabellón], will consist more in coordinating, browsing, selecting girls and making decisions in the most objective way possible. We hope that these three centers can work in coordination to improve the level of Spain with healthy competitiveness, "says Quereda. What can you contribute? "Above all fresh air, a lot of impartiality and neutrality. My main objective is to give the opportunity to the gymnasts themselves to win the right to represent Spain in international competitions. In recent years the system was different, "he answers without wanting to give more details.
"Today the level of individual rhythm is very high, we have to put the batteries very much, much to return to the level in which Spain has been traditionally. An individual gymnast has to stand out for having something special and different, that's what we have to strengthen in our gymnasts and we have to develop until we can have a new Carolina Pascual, "he adds.
What will make her say: she or the other? "I have no experience in this and it will be different to be on the other side of the tapestry, but my friends have always told me that I have a good eye. I would like to be able to select gymnasts in which I see something else, something that differentiates them and makes them stand out. Mainly have charisma, and then to be able to refine and develop the physical qualities, "he concludes.