Caridad Jerez, Sabina Asenjo and Raquel González are the three FC Barcelona athletes who are already guaranteed a place at the Rio Olympics, after setting the required qualification marks. And sprinters Cristina Lara and Carmen Sánchez could be heading for Brazil too as part of the 4x100 relay team if they set the right times and are picked by the Spanish Athletics Federation.
This will be the first time that any of the ladies have been to the Games. “The Olympics are every athlete’s dream. Nothing compares to them” says Mallorcan Caridad Jerez, who’s competing in the 100 metre hurdles. Discus thrower Sabina Asenjo, in turn, says she’s feeling “very calm and really looking forward to competing. My training is focused on the Games.”
And 20 km walker Raquel González, who set her time in Rome in early May, adds that “this is the reward for many years of work, and a lot of effort and personal sacrifice.”
Carmen Sánchez is not guaranteed a trip to Rio, but says that “it is any sportsperson’s wish to go to the Games, it is the most important meet and everyone trains to get there.” Fellow relayist Cristina Lara agrees: “Every sportsperson wants to reach the highest point, and that is the Olympic Games”.
Caridad says things haven’t sunk in yet but “when I’m there and on the sand, then I’ll believe that I’m at the Olympic Games. It will be a dream come true and I’ll try to do the best that I can”.
Raquel adds that “athletes that have been before always say that it’s a unique experience. I have very high hopes because that is what this demands. Spain are very strong in the 20 km walk, and so I have my sights set on being up there with the best”.
Sabina continues by admitting that “I just hope the experience is a good one. You never know what might happen, but I hope all my dedication is reflected in what I do and that I don’t come back wishing I had done better”.
And these athletes are eternally grateful to the club that helped put them where they are today. “The Barça values are very important to me, the sense of being in a team, the club feeling, we will do all we can for the shirt” promises Cristina, while Sabina adds that “the club’s support helps you to relax because you know it is there to help if you need it. It’s important to belong to Barça because that gives you the chance to compete in the highest standard events.”