The El Quirinal sports facilities are already embracing the “Villa de Avilés” judo tournament, which starts today with weigh-ins until Sunday 31st, which will be when the last of the tests ends. A total of 6,100 people will come to the city, including judokas (1,200) and the public (4,900) from five countries: France, Portugal, Georgia, the United States and Spain. Those in charge of organizing this tournament of international stature are the Avilés Judo Club, with its vice president and technical director of the event, Carlos Fernández, at the helm.
–The competition returns after the postponement due to the pandemic. What do you expect from this year’s edition?
– That we close it in the same circumstances as previous editions, that everything is within normalcy. We examine ourselves in this double aspect of organizers and competitors, if it fits more in the organizational part. In addition, the little that remains of the covid is forcing us to take a series of measures that at an organizational level make our work quite difficult.
– One of the points on which they have focused the most is security.
–It is a challenge that would not be possible without the number of volunteers who are pitching in. For the issue of covid tests, an important human team must be deployed to accommodate those 1,200 judokas who have to pass that filter. We know, from the experience we have of a Spanish championship, that it is one of the greatest difficulties due to crowds and waiting times for competitors. It is what worries us the most.
–However, they will be fewer attendees than in the 2019 edition, where 1,986 judokas competed.
–The number of participants is reduced, but increases to other levels. With all the protocols that athletes and the public have to go through, one thing is perfectly supplanted by another. Every time I hear that they are less athletic, it doesn’t relax me at all.
– Athletes from five countries will compete in the championship. Is Avilés put on the international judo map in this way?
–Of the 20 editions that the “Villa de Avilés” has been running, fifteen of them have had international participation. This time it will be more restrained, since we have eleven countries. In that sense we are also going to be greatly diminished.
– What does it mean for you to have facilities like those of El Quirinal?
– If it weren’t for the characteristics of this sports complex, the event would be unfeasible. This year more if possible. The El Quirinal sports complex is of a capital quality. You have to enjoy the fact that Avilés is the city that will host this tournament. Gijón and Oviedo, for example, at the municipal level do not have facilities with annexes that can be used for this. Those of us who are used to traveling nationally or internationally are clear that Avilés has jewels at the level of structures.
– What do you expect from the participation of Club Judo Avilés?
– We arrived at a time of doubt with relative results in the national league. However, this last weekend in the Asturias championship we already took a step forward. We see a more organized and serious team, looking for what we are after. Two things have historically happened to us at the Villa. On the one hand, we were growing up and on the other, the environment could help us, depending a little on the generation. It sure is one of those years in which we came out well in the competition.
– In what state is Asturian judo now?
– You need to take another step in the categories of truth. Asturias in general lacks a definitive step at the sports level, which goes through the support of academic institutions such as the University of Oviedo. The compatibility of an academic training in conditions with a sports career is very poorly understood. Asturian sport lacks a much greater structure of professionalism.
–There will also be a new “speaker” after the death of Luis Fernando González.
-That’s how it is. We have maximum confidence in the one who is coming, Josu Alonso. Now it’s time to walk, but we are going to miss Luis Fernando González a lot. We are talking about a person who worked for the Houston Rockets of the NBA. He had eight Olympic Games behind him and spoke more than 30 languages. Matching Luis is very difficult.