With a whole party in the background, Dani Sarmiento (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1983) answered the call of LA PROVINCIA / DLP. All in one day in which he enlarged his legend within the national handball, but also of the canary, with his second European title. A continental gold that adds to the world title that conquered in 2013 and a European bronze more.
Do you believe it already? Have you had time to assimilate what it means to repeat a European title and have a place to be in Tokyo 2020?
Not really. The prize has been very great, not only for winning the championship, for being the second in a row, but for what it means: going to the Olympic Games without having to play the pre-Olympic qualifiers that are super difficult. The truth is that this very happy.
Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas, his partner, said that this group owed itself to being on an Olympic date after not being in Rio 2016. Do you share that feeling?
Without a doubt, without a doubt. The main objective with which we came here was to qualify for the Olympic Games and for that there was a sure path, which was to win. This generation had a thorn in it that was the Rio Games. And that hurt us a lot. In these four years we work with the objective of reaching this point, this game and have this option to get into the Games. The team has worked it, it has achieved it and it is something that all the Spanish handball deserved.
Brilliant throughout the European, not a defeat. Where has the group key resided? Where was the key against Croatia?
In which the group has rotated continuously: we have all played, we have all contributed our things, we have all had our role and we have internalized it. I think that in the end we have arrived a little cooler and we just made mistakes that are basic to a team of the quality of Croatia, which are a super-team.
With what he suffered more with the two seven meters that Aleix Gómez launched or with his launch for 20-19 that he hardly enters?
[Ríe] Well, well ... It's not suffering, it's living. This team has given a lot during these four years, it is not the result of an action. When we didn't go to Rio we received many sticks from many sides. In the end it was something we had in mind. All we had in the final were desire, sacrifice, effort ... I am very proud to belong to this group, really.
What share of responsibility does Jordi Ribera, the former selector and his 'tutor' have at the beginning in Gáldar, in all this?
A lot. It is the coach, who makes the most important decisions off the court, who prepares the games, has much merit as his entire team. Jordi has been one of the great architects of all this.
Have you had time to call your family home in Las Torres?
Yes, yes, of course ... I know the whole family was attached to the TV, hooked throughout the tournament. In December we suffered the loss of a very important relative for us as my grandmother was. The first message I sent was to them. All this is for my grandmother, she deserved it because she has always been behind supporting my career. You share this with all the people you love, who know the sacrifices you have made ... When you win and get things, the first ones I have to thank is them.
I imagine that those first steps will come to mind, those trips to Gáldar with his father Pepe and his brother Ayoze, the returns by bus to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria ...
Sure, sure ... Imagine ... A lot of things go through your mind. I can only be grateful to my family: my brothers, parents, uncles, cousins ... To all, everyone has been aware of what I do and every step in my career [aumenta el ritmo de fondo].
The celebration is going well for what it seems ...
Yes, yes, imagine it. We started the championship in order to go game by game, without knowing what was going to happen. This is a triumph from humility, work and respect for rivals. When you win something like this European, with the Olympic Games as a prize, the team takes out everything in it.
Rename the Olympic Games. Do you already have them in mind?
We want to enjoy this, of course. This is the triumph of all Spanish handball. But the prize of the Games is very big, it is very difficult to go [más ruido, risas y cánticos de fondo] It is inevitable to get this way when you have achieved something so important.