10 Basque athletes who have shone in 2021

Local athletes have excelled in athletics, basketball, karate, badmiton, tennis, and all kinds of sports.

They have stood out with successes in world or Olympic events of all kinds of disciplines and will continue to harvest them throughout 2022

Judith Romero

Basque women’s sport is having a good time and its protagonists are the best proof of this. After 2020 in which the sports world seemed to be frozen by the pandemic, 2021 has been full of titles and recognitions for Basque athletes. At home, abroad, at the Olympic Games, world championships and international competitions, Biscay, Alava and Guipuzcoa have shown what they are capable of on and off the court, the court, the fronton or the tatami. The Champions section of EL CORREO highlights the achievements of some of our best athletes in 2021.

Agurtzane Eguiluz | Adapted basketball

To the Tokyo Games on their own merits and the 2022 World Cup on the horizon

Egiluz is one of the regulars in the Spanish team and achieved bronze in the Europeans. /


The Spanish wheelchair basketball team has only played in two Paralympic Games. The first did it as a host, in Barcelona 1992. The second, in Tokyo 2020 and on her own merits. The Vitorian Agurtzane Egiluz, a Zuzenak player, had to wait until she was 24 to fulfill her Olympic dream, but she was one of the twelve selected by Abraham Carrión to fly to the country of the rising sun. He returned with an Olympic diploma at the end of the national team in seventh position. Egiluz is one of the regulars of the national team and this 2021 she was able to add this new experience to her record, which also includes bronze in the last wheelchair basketball Europeans, which has earned them qualification to play the 2022 World Cup.

Ane Mintegi | Tenista

Junior Wimbledon champion and Basque tennis promise

Mintegi assures that athletes like Carla Suárez are a reference for her. /


Last summer Idiazabal tennis player Ane Mintegi became the first person from Spain to be proclaimed the winner of the junior edition of Wimbledon. She came back from the match against Germany’s Nastasja Schunk and joined the only other two national players to have reached gold in London, Conchita Martínez and Garbiñe Muguruza. Mintegi, 18, has been interspersing the junior competition with the professional circuit, training at the TEC Carles Ferrer Salat in Barcelona under the command of Juan Lizariturry from San Sebastian since the beginning of the year. And although now he triumphs on the courts and has become a promise of Spanish tennis, his sporting beginnings took place in the frontons like that of his town. “I hope to see her playing in the big tournaments soon”, wishes Muguruza.

Clara Azurmendi | Badminton player

The Austrian Open, the Spanish championship and a luxury relay in Tokyo

Donostiarra Azurmendi is among the top positions in the world ranking. /


She was so well placed in the ranking that, when an injury prevented her partner and friend Carolina Marín from playing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she was able to pack her suitcase and be in charge of representing Spain. The 23-year-old Clara Azurmendi from San Sebastian was then ranked 43rd in the world badminton rankings and had already won competitions such as the Austrian Open or the Spanish championship. The young woman left her hometown when she was just 14 years old to train at the CAR in Madrid, where she has been trained under Fernando Rivas. He opted for badminton after years combining it with basketball, another of his passions, and that his 1.83 meters tall were on his side.

Elena Loyo | Athlete

An Olympic marathon in Sapporo and the dream of running in Paris 2024

At 38, Loyo does not consider age an impediment to continue competing. /


The long-distance runner from Alava made her first Olympic Games at the age of 38 after running a perfect marathon in Valencia in December 2020. In summer she finished the one held in Sapporo in 29th place with a mark of 2.34.38, so just 7:18 am from the winner, Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir, in a race in which she improved her performance under the scorching sun. The BM Bilbao long-distance runner, who has had Martín Fiz as coach, assured that he would have signed for this result before leaving. The neighbor of Murgia considers that age should not be an impediment and will try to obtain a place for the following Games and relive the experience in Paris 2024. She is already swelling the list of honor with other Olympic athletes from Alava such as Blanca Lacambra, Maite Zúñiga or the Fiz himself.

Cross Friars | Triathlete

Among the best long-distance triathletes and with two world appointments

Frades finished the Ironman of Chattanooga and Cozumel in second place this 2021. /


Gurutze Frades is preparing for two events that he will play next year, some of the toughest in the world for long distance triathletes. The first is the Long Distance Triathlon World Championship, which will take place in Saint George, Utah, in May. The second is the Ironman World Cup to be held in Hawaii in October 2022. He achieved the position after finishing second in Chattanooga, United States. “It is not being easy to manage the schedules, so performing at this level has a lot of value,” he said then. The Duranguesa, who just finished second in the Cozumel Ironman, practiced basketball until she was 25 years old before taking an interest in triathlon.

Maite Maiora | Ultra Trail Runner

Skyrunning world champion and a unique guide on the Camino de Santiago

Maiora ensures that the municipal sports area of ​​Mendaro bears her name is very important to her. /


2021 has been a good year for the Gipuzkoan athlete Maite Maiora. In addition to being proclaimed Skyrunning World Champion in the Sky Ultra Trail modality and adding another world title, Maiora felt supported by her neighbors from Mendaro, who gave their name to the municipal sports area. After dominating the world championship in Vall de Boí in 9 hours, 23 minutes and 56 seconds in spring, Maiora, one of the most successful trail runners, became an exceptional guide on the Camino de Santiago at the Red Bull Buen Camino event. It is not for less because Maiora, 41, has been proclaimed the winner in events such as the Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon, Ultra Pirineu, Tromso Skyrace or Limone Extreme.

Nagore Martín | Palista

Triplet on rubber paddle, champion of Spain and Europe already for the World Cup in France

Martín, 27, adapted to the 30-meter fronton in just five months and took the treble. /


The Vitorian Pelotari Nagore Martín has not stopped reaping successes this year. Specialist in ratchet, he took the treble in the 30-meter fronton rubber paddle modality after preparing for just 5 months. She was proclaimed champion of Spain and Europe and completed the triplet with the World Cup. Next year the 27-year-old, who also played several seasons in the Ehari handball team, will play the World Cup in France. And she does all of this while combining her work as a monitor in Vitoria City Council courses with work in dining rooms and offering private classes. “Every effort has its reward,” defends the athlete from Alava.

Oihana Moya | Crossfit

The fittest woman in Spain teaches crossfit in Alameda Urquijo

Oihana Moya from Alava started crossfit three years ago and has prevailed in state competitions. /


Llodiana Oihana Moya started practicing Crossfit regularly three years ago and is already one of the most recognized athletes in Spain. In 2019 she was placed among the 13 best in the country at the Crossfit Games. Last year it was eighth and this 2021 has been the best in Spain and the eighth in Europe. Karate black belt, she practiced that sport for years before joining Crossfit and working as a coach in a gym in Alameda Urquijo de Bilbao. Moya can lift 185 kilos in the deadlift, 150 in the squat, 115 in the power clean and 85 in the snatch and has just been proclaimed a winner in the Madrid Crossfit Challenger. He was not out of the top 3 in any event and pocketed 12,000 euros, the highest prize awarded in a Crossfit competition in Spain. This January he will travel to Miami to participate in Wodapalooza, one of the most important international events.

Oihane Sánchez | Karate

Kyokushin karate world runner-up and heart survivor

Sánchez poses with the silver he achieved at the World Cup in Krakow, in Poland. /


The 22-year-old Oihane Sánchez from Vitoria has had to fight on the tatami and in the operating room until she was proclaimed world runner-up in kyokushin karate. This November he won world silver in karate, but before he had to endure a great break in his sporting life. Sánchez, who trains at the Yin Yang gymnasium in the capital of Alava, began practicing rhythmic gymnastics at the age of 3 before switching to karate. He was fainting and tired from an intranodal arrhythmia. She was operated on at 17 and the recovery was slow, but the good results of Sánchez’s effort are already being noticed. “If you believe in something you have to go for it,” he advises.

Nilofar Bayat | Adapted basketball

A new life away from the Taliban who control Afghanistan in Bilbao’s Bidaideak

Bayat, former captain of the Afghanistan wheelchair team, on her debut for Bidaideak last October. /


He had been warning for some time that if the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, many free women and athletes like them would be forced to leave the country. Nilofar Bayat, a 28-year-old Afghan lawyer and wheelchair basketball player, went from trying to flee in terror at the Kabul airport to being welcomed as a refugee in Bilbao, where she has been able to start a new life thanks to the offer to play that The Bidaideak BSR was extended to him last August. Since the summer, she has been one more player on the Basque scene and enjoys the security and freedom that her new life in Euskadi provides, without forgetting those who have not had the same luck and are still in their homeland. I know I am in danger. But someone has to tell what happens in my country. And better if it is a woman “, affirms this champion.



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