Born in the Palencia town of Saldaña, she came to Asturias as a child and was part of the first women’s handball team that was formed at the María Milagrosa de Llaranes school by Leonor Palacio and shortly after by Manuel Taibo. From school she went to Ensidesa and was one of those chosen to make up the first Spanish team that debuted in a friendly match against France played in Bilbao on November 10, 1967, which also included the other two honored by Asturian handball: Milagros Villanueva and Angélica Ferreras. She combined the practice of handball with her teaching studies.
–How do you receive recognition?
–To be honest, I said it didn’t make sense, but thinking about it, it is a reason to be grateful and proud that there are people who have these initiatives. And, of course, to revitalize this sport and women’s sports.
–What was handball like in your time?
–We were very lucky, it promoted the social sphere –political reasons aside–. It was an opportune time to practice the sport. We were very good at it and we were lucky to have a coach who I have to thank for everything I know and who helped us a lot. We had many benefits at that time. While the rest of the teams, or many, had to find a way to equip themselves, to travel, we had everything. In ’67, Ensidesa itself paid us tribute and showered us with gifts at a dinner. You have to understand the context. It was the middle of the last century, the physical conditions and facilities cannot be compared to today.
–Women’s sport is evolving a lot, but work is still being done. How do you perceive what happened in the Spanish soccer team?
–I am very happy with your position. I totally sympathize with them. Let it serve as a revitalizer for the rest of the women to achieve the goals they set. Many years passed where women were despised, and it should not be that way.
–What atmosphere did you have in the national team?
–We were like a family. Last year, concentrated in Madrid, I was already working in the school city. Since I had to travel to Almudena to train, Juan de Dios offered me his car so I could travel and not miss school or training. There was a very good relationship with the coaches, especially with Taibo, who was magnificent. But I still remember that in my first concentration I climbed the stairs on all fours because of my shoelaces. They gave us a job that I will never forget in my life, and we worked a lot here.
–Do you remember the first call?
–On the run. Furthermore, Ensidesa was the team that contributed the most players to the national team. There were three of us: Milagros Villanueva, Angélica Ferreras and I, the three of us from Avilés. Four of them were from Barcelona, but from the same team, just us.
–How was it possible?
–Because they made us work a lot, we trained a lot. At 7 in the morning I was already crossing the river bridge to go to train and in the afternoons again to train. It was the result of work and that Taibo was a very good coach.
–The figure of Manolo Taibo stands out a lot. How was he?
–It was magnificent. What’s more, in those years, the seventies, he obtained the title of national coach. At that time, in Avilés, there was only one person with a degree in gymnastics from the university, Leonor Palacios. At that time people did not have the title. We also trained basketball and athletics, which made the preparations less boring and more relaxed.
–Was it difficult to combine handball with professional and private life?
–While you are young and studying it was very easy to adapt. Once you start working, everything changes. I was there from 10 in the morning to 10 at night, it got very complicated. I had to leave relatively soon, in ’73 or ’74, I wasn’t even 30 years old.
–What was the league like?
–The first years it was the women’s section. There were teams in Oviedo, in Luanco, in Laviana, in Infiesto… There were places that are never mentioned, but against which we played. It was at the provincial level. Starting in the 70s, with the Federation, the National League began, which was organized by sectors, with eight or ten. The regional League was played and the champions went to the National League.
–How do you remember those seasons?
–I remember games in which they scored just because, because there was an abysmal superiority. I don’t remember any year without being champions of Asturias, ever. At the National it was very varied. Some years champions, other years runners-up. One of the Nationals, in Burgos, was very curious.
–I couldn’t go with the team, I was studying. I only had one subject left and I couldn’t afford not to show up. Fran Lorente appeared at my house to convince my parents to go, because they were calling from Burgos asking me to travel because they were passing all the phases of the sector. That night, Fran and my father took me to the train station to catch the train and travel directly to Burgos.
–And how did it end?
–We were runners-up. I remember that when I arrived they didn’t let me go directly to the sports palace, but rather they took me to the hotel to sleep. When I arrived at the sports center, my teammates were already there, and they were very happy. It was a game in which everything went into me. Everything he threw went inwards. That day Juan de Dios called me for the selection.
#work #lot #morning #train