The El Pastoret gymnastics club received financial aid to buy new equipment and help young members train in better conditions.
Interview with coach Octavio Fuentes Socorro
What are the athletic abilities of your young members?
Our gymnasts are very strong, flexible and very dedicated to their sporting life. Their motivation is very high because all of them are very young and dedicate many hours a week to their training, combining it with their studies. All of them have a great spirit of sacrifice and really enjoy all the hours they put in.
How do you see your profession today?
Artistic Gymnastics is a very beautiful sport, and for me, one of the most complete, because a gymnast needs not only the physical abilities to do all the acrobatics and the artistic part of the exercises, but a very strong mental control for competition and also a good and quick sense of reaction. Women must be able to perform four events (vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise) while men have six (floor, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar). That is why gymnastics is so complete, because one has to know how to do acrobatics jumping on the floor, standing on a beam or hanging on a high bar, doing different kinds of movements and elements on each apparatus. Artistic gymnastics is a sport that is continuously changing, due to the changes in the rules (each Olympic cycle, there is a review of the code of rules of the International Gymnastics Federation). It means that trainers and gymnasts must adapt their training to the new rules every four years, and it is sometimes difficult for them. This sport is also so fascinating because gymnasts have to change the elements included in their exercises to increase their level of difficulty. One of the most important things about Gymnastics, for me, is that nowadays it is not only a sport for very young athletes, as it used to be several years ago. The average age of the gymnasts is older than before and you can see many gymnasts that are more than 20-30 years old, and that's a very good thing for the sport. You can see, in the Olympics, women who are more than 30 years old. Gymnastics is used in many training methods for people who want to increase and improve their physical condition and many adults start training at a very advanced age. People who practice and compete in Artistic Gymnastics must feel a passion for this sport because it requires many hours of training. Personally, I grew up in a family that felt this passion intensely, with a parent who was my coach and siblings who were also gymnasts. Our passion for gymnastics came from our family, we still feel that passion and we hope to feel it our entire lives.
How do you see the club and its young members in five years? In 10 years?
Well, our club has been through great change in the last few years, thanks to the crucial help provided by POROSUS. These are the first years in which we are operating autonomously, in our own gym and with similar apparatus to that which we find at the competitions. Nowadays we are adapting our organization to the new way of training, with more gymnasts, more coaches and more hours of training, taking into account that we have increased not only the number of gymnasts competing but also their quality, having more gymnasts prepared for the Olympic level. In the future, I see our club with a great number of gymnasts competing at a high level in national championships and, why not, in international ones too. And in the next 10 years, I would like to see our gymnasts being part of the Spanish national team.
This interview was conducted in 2017
Photo credit: Céline Anaya Gautier