San Pedro del Pinatar is a town on the shores of the Mar Menor in Murcia which has around 25,000 inhabitants. In the field of water sports this town has always stood out brilliantly, particularly at canoeing. There is also a former professional football player, Mariano Sánchez, who is an outstanding person and currently works in the media . There is also a long list of local people as well , who have obtained great results at different sports nationally and even internationally.
Cristina Gomez has recently joined that list of sports figures after achieving the title of Spanish champion last week in the senior category. Cristina is an eighteen-year-old girl. At the early age of nine she was outstandingly good both at judo and squash. Following her coach and mentor`s, Angel Pedro, wise advice, ( manager at the Nuevo San Pedro Sports Centre where she has trained most of her life), she decided to drop judo and focus on squash.
From that moment on, Cristina and Angel Pedro, along with the rest of the professional athletes in that centre, began working hard and taking part in the main national competitions. So what once began as a hobby for both, ( Cristina admits that she played squash because she liked to enter competitions to try and beat her rivals) became a meteoric rise on the national squash scene. She became Spanish champion on several occasions in the younger categories and even achieved this title when facing sportswomen several years older than her.
Her amazing progress led to the National Federation of Squash granting Cristina a scholarship for the Residence Joaquin Blume in the Centre of High Performance in Madrid, where many of the best Spanish sportsmen live, allowing her to join the Madrid Rackets club . This scholarship meant that Cristina could fully focus on her training. Due to the fact that the National Federation of Squash have an extremely limited budget because it is not an Olympic sport, most athletes have to pay for the vast majority of their expenses – something that Cristina is able to do thanks to the invaluable help of her sponsors (Emwey, Teleraqueta and Hitrackets) and, especially, thanks to her family, who play a fundamental part in her life as an athlete.
The culmination of Cristina’s career came, as I mentioned before, when she became Spanish senior champion last weekend. This title is a giant step for Cristina in national squash and it makes her an athlete to be reckoned with both at regional and national levels in the coming years. But, above all, her career path shows us that both sponsors and public institutions should look to these sports and also at the young athletes who are training hard to succeed in them and consider them as a safe investment.
Let’s take care of our young people, let´s take care of the future of our sport.