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Adriana Cerezo, the 'wonder girl' of taekwondo is Olympic silver in Tokyo


The 17-year-old from Alcalá de Henares gets the first medal for Spain on her debut at the 2020 Olympic Games and against rivals with twice the experience and metals that she

A 17-year-old whirlwind from Alcalá de Henares, in his first year in the senior category, entered the Chiba taekwondo pavilion on Saturday smiling at the camera.

His is not a smile of circumstance, but one of those from ear to ear.

Like he's at the end-of-term party instead of jumping onto the mat for his first Olympic match.


wonder girl

, as her peers nickname her, and her irrepressible energy have turned the Makuhari Messe upside down on the first day of Games.

He passed through the pavilion with the force of a hurricane and the silver, the first medal of Spain in these Games, was hung.

The gold was left to a point.

He lost it in the last three seconds.

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In the first round she knocked down the Serbian Tijana Bogdanovic (12-4), Olympic runner-up in Rio 2016. In the quarterfinals she destroyed the Chinese Jingyu Wu by points difference (33-2) in two rounds - she did not reach the third.

Wu, 34, is a legend of the sport with two Olympic golds.

In the semifinal, the beating (39-19) fell to the 30-year-old Turkish Rukiye Yildirim, twice European champion and twice world bronze.

All rivals with twice the experience and metals as her.

Panipak Wongpattanakit, 23-year-old Thai, bronze in Rio, two-time world champion, was the only one to beat Cerezo 11-10.

A group of seven Japanese journalists gathered to wait for her after the quarterfinal match, still rubbing their eyes. They looked at her in disbelief in the mixed zone and asked her in English: But how is it that you have never competed in the senior category? But did you expect this? " And she responds that

this is

not the case, but that she has worked to be as she is. And that ehhhh, that this is not over, that there is a long day of competition left. He does not tell them that he never stops, that to stop his head that always goes to a thousand, he does meditation techniques, 10-minute sessions a day of


that help her focus. She does not tell them that she likes it and enjoys training so much that sometimes they even have to stop her because if it were up to her, she would go to do taekwondo just got off a plane back from a competition. He does not tell them that he has brought the sheets and a pillow from the Olympic Village and that after the semifinal, to deceive the three-hour wait before fighting for the gold, he goes to sleep for a while in the warm-up room.

"Whatever I get, whatever I get, I'm very little tactical!", Repeated in a huddle after the first fight in which he defeated the Olympic runner-up in Rio 2016. Without blinking, without accusing the nerves. She says she has them, of course she has them, like not having them. But he channels them in his favor, transforms them into energy. And since body language also counts, the veterans of the -49kg circuit meet a rookie who, instead of looking overwhelmed, has a face of enjoyment. And they think: now what do we do with the Spanish girl? The

wonder girl

closes her eyes only on the technical break between rounds and rounds. He does this to control his breathing. "To lower the heart rate," he says.

As if they could get off. His coach Jesús Ramal, from the Hankuk club in San Sebastián de los Reyes, told this newspaper in May: “Adri is happy with what he does. And that infects others and transmits it in competitions ”. Ramal has not traveled to Tokyo, he follows Adriana's fights on TV and talks to her on the phone after each round.

And she, after the first fight, with her face dripping with sweat, her hair tied in a bun and a happy smile, says in the hallways of the pavilion: “Now Jesus will call me to scold me for having backed down a little in the first round. It is better that I lose some points than back down ”. It was a moment, she adjusted it and there was no one to turn her back at the Makuhari Messe, a 210,000 square meter fairground in Chiba, just under an hour from the Olympic Village. There is no public, the atmosphere is soulless - not because of the interior temperature, the air conditioning is so strong that you have to put on a raincoat - but you can hear the knocks on the electronic bibs. In normal conditions, to make sure if there has been contact and the point goes up to the scoreboard, you have to go through the screens.In the Games without an audience, the Pandemic Games, it is not necessary. Even the breaths are heard.

"I need to be yelled at"

Adriana says that she has asked every Spaniard to come by to sit in the stands and shout things at her.

All Spanish is Elena Benítez, the technical director of the Federation, Raúl Martínez, captain and teammate who broadcasts the fights live on the networks, Miguel Ángel Herranz, coach of the national team who accompanies Adrián Vicente [lost in the quarterfinals against him number one in the world], Martínez himself and Javi Pérez Polo.

Even Brigitte Yagüe's husband is sitting there, who knows the team even though he now coaches another team.

“Adri, you are the best, the best.

You take the rhythm of the combat.

Go on, go on, she's tired ”, they yell at her.

It is an Olympic combat, but the atmosphere that the

wonder girl

has generated

It is what you breathe on a Sunday with your family.

And the young taekwondo player says: "I need them to yell at me, to yell at me, to tell me things ... so yes you can [to the small group of journalists who are waiting for her in the mixed zone between combat and combat], you also shout" .

And at her home, in Alcalá de Henares, her father, David, the one who takes her to training every day, will have shouted a lot more.

And her mother, Mai, who takes her when Adri is with her and who, according to Adriana, will have swollen you this Saturday.

They have rented a chalet to meet all the Hankuk club technicians and follow the debut of the

wonder girl

on TV


His parents were not very fond of


doing martial arts. They wanted me to do what all girls do. And she did everything. “I was good at almost all sports, but I was totally on my ball. I played tennis and they almost threw me out because I didn't feel like playing matches and I was going with the ball and the racket on my own… it was the worst. I also did figure skating, ballet, flamenco: and I remember there crying every day because I didn't want to go into the room. I also did rhythmic gymnastics, everything ”.

And when her parents finally let her do taekwondo, she found her place on the tatami.

The one that this Saturday has led her to win her first Olympic medal with only 17 years.

Since Adriana landed in Tokyo, her parents asked Ramal daily: How do you see her?

And the technician says that the answer was always the same: "Well, in his sauce".

In the motivational talk they had on Friday night in a video call, Ramal told him: "Adri, the speeches and words are over, now is the time to play."

And she has played.

Happy and carefree.

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Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2021-07-24

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