MONDAYS WITH THE PRESIDENT
50 years of history and pride
6/6/2013 - 8:12 PM
In a few days, on Sunday, June 16th, we will celebrate 50 years since the Spanish Women’s National Team played their first game. This historical game was played in the coastal city of Malgrat de Mar in Catalunya, the birthplace of the Margalls saga. Since then the team has played over 600 games, some as unforgettable as the winning the gold medal at the European championships in Perugia, exactly 20 years ago.
BY JOSÉ LUIS SÁEZ
These two landmarks, in 1963 and 1993, have served as an opportunity to pay tribute to our women’s national team’s long journey. Over the past decade, they have stepped up to five winner’s podiums in the last six championships and won their first World Championship medal, becoming one of the indisputable leaders of women’s basketball in Europe.
Our women’s great success is also due to the example they provide for girls who have made basketball their dream. The girls’ little league teams are evidence of the team spirit, commitment and passion inspired by our women’s teams. Nearly half of the 105 medals Spanish baskebtall is so proud to have achieved are from the women’s national teams, especially the farm team, which has dominated women’s minor league basketball in the past five years, with more successes than any other country – 34 of the 43 women’s medals over the course of history have been won in the last twelve years.
This is not coincidental, but rather an important consequnce of our sport being the country’s leader in the number of women’s licenses issued for many years now, with 143,000 licenses in 2012 (the last year the National Sports Council published its official data). At the FEB, we dedicate approximately 30% of our budget to women’s basketball, including the Century XXI Program, and 65% of the players in our competitions are Spanish. The Women’s League and the 2nd Women’s League, which was created in 2001 and has already established themselves as an excellent second tier, have brought Spanish basketball to nearly all of Spain’s autonomous regions and provinces. This season alone, it will reach a total of 8 million inhabitants. Nearly 2,000 developing youths participate in Spain’s Championships every year. Spanish players are also leading role models in foreign leagues, from Russia to Turkey, France to Poland… Our national team coaches are also experiencing success in foreign clubs, going beyond Europe as far as China, such as Lucas Mondelo has done in recent months.
Everyone’s participation, from the clubs to the autonomous regions, including supporting coaches, sponsors and institutions, gives our women’s basketball a reason to be proud, and makes the Women’s National Team part of a bigger, better brand.
This Wednesday, 50 years after their first game and 20 after the gold medal in Perugia, we are bringing together many of the stars from the last half century to celebrate at Espacio 2014. The FEB would like to pay tribute to those deserving people who have participated in the incredible adventure of our Women’s National Team. A good number of the pioneers who returned from Italy with the first gold medal in history in 1963 will be there in Alcobdendas, as well as the women who are going to participate in EuroBasket 2013 in France in a few days, and many others of the hundreds of women who have worn our jersey over the years.
We have prepared this celebration with passion and affection, dedicated to remembering our history and honoring those who have made all of ths possible, which we believe is one of the best ways to strengthen our identity and pride in a feeling of belonging. This celebration happens to coincide with the 2014-As Forum, which begins today, dedicated to the Spain brand and with the High Commissioner, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, in attendance.
The Women’s National Team is one of our greatest reasons to be proud, and we want to celebrate it.