The Colombian national team is the great leader in Speed at the World Roller Games 2019. It is the country with the highest representation in this discipline, with 32 runners and total parity among its members: 16 boys and 16 girls. Part of these achievements are thanks to his national coach, Elias del Valle, also known as 'el profesor' ('the teacher').
"The objective of the national team is always to win, Colombia has always been above the 20 gold medals and we want to keep this figure, without forgetting the human component of competing in a World Championship," says del Valle, who started skating at eight years old and has been training for 33 years.
Since Guillermo Leon Botero won the first medal in a World Skating Championship in 1987, the numbers have only increased. Colombia has won a total of 527 medals to this day in the different World Championships played since 2008: 266 gold, 171 silver and 90 bronze.
So, how did they achieve such power in the speed skating championships? "When I started, skating in Colombia was very minor and nowadays it is the most practiced sport in the country, behind football, we are so unemployed that we have focused a lot on the sport to know and understand it to the fullest, tell us 'el profesor' between laughs.
Pedro Causil, one of the members of the Colombian team, has already won the gold medal in the 500-meter race and the bronze in the sprint lap in these 2019 World Roller Games. Now, he will seek to continue expanding his record of medals and that of his country. In addition, he was also the first Colombian to participate in the Olympic Winter Games -the Pyeongchang 2018-, where he competed in the 500 meters and 1,000 meters.
"I started to get bored with the same routine, I wanted to compete in an Olympic Games and I fulfilled a dream, but now, I don’t think I’ll go back to ice skating, I have closed that stage. It’s complicated to know what is missing in the speed skating to be part of the Olympic Games. We trust that with the entrance of the skateboarding for Tokyo 2020, we can have an opportunity to become Olympians." For now, we will have to wait, at least, for the 2028 edition to try to be part of the most important sporting event in the world, in which Colombia, surely, would continue triumphant.
FOTO: J. MONFORT / WRG