The world’s best roller sports athletes are set to compete for the first time at the one event. Presenting the major sports spectacular to be hosted by the Chinese city of Nanjing from 27 August to 10 September: the first edition of the World Roller Games – FIRS World Championships. This new and ambitious competition format promoted by the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) combines the World Championships of all the roller sports disciplines regulated by the Federation. Over a period of 15 days, more than 4,000 athletes from 50 countries will compete for the world’s top 10 titles. Among them are the 200 athletes making up the Spanish delegation, which will travel there with the added incentive of the fact that Barcelona will host the second edition of the World Roller Games in July 2019.
Having already staged the World Speed Championships in 2016, Nanjing will see the best athletes in action competing in 10 disciplines: Artistic, Alpine, Downhill, Inline Hockey, Rink Hockey, Inline Freestyle, Roller Freestyle, Skateboarding, Speed and Roller Derby. Spanish athletes will compete in all the disciplines and the Spanish delegation is a strong contender to dominate the final medal count, as it is a favourite in many disciplines. One of these is Speed, where the delegation’s flag-bearer, Ioseba Fernández, is considered to be one of world’s best speedskaters. At 27, this athlete from Navarra has had a constant presence on the victors’ podium since 2012, the year he won his first career world title. “It is truly an honour for me to be the flag bearer as I have never been one before, so being the flag bearer for the first edition of the World Roller Games makes me feel especially proud. I get goosebumps just thinking about the fact that Barcelona will host the second edition of the World Roller Games,” Fernández explains. He is competing in China to win his third world title, after those he won in 2012 and 2014. “I am always optimistic before a competition, but on this occasion I realise that I will be competing in good form because I have trained very thoroughly. I sincerely believe this is my best year in terms of sporting and physical prowess and maturity. I am really looking forward to it,” says the speedskater, who will compete in the 300, 500 and 100 metres and one lap sprint.
Also highly motivated for the journey is Anna Quintana, an athlete who can boast of winning a list of ten world titles in the field of Artistic Skating (large show team). The CPA Olot captain is travelling to Nanjing and excited about furthering the legend of her skating team even more. “We are extremely proud of our record and have been having a good season so far. We are going to the World Roller Games as European Champions and believe that we are ready to fight for the medals. We are really motivated,” the athlete explains. Her turn will come on 10 September, during the final stretch of an event that “I believe will be a success. It will be interesting for the athletes because we can really bond and help each other. Ours are small sports and a global event like this that brings everyone together will promote them more.”
Nanjing is now ready to raise the curtain of the first World Roller Games, an event in which Barcelona will also play a leading role, given that it will host the second edition in 2019 with a very clear aim in mind: “Our mission as Organising Committee of the World Roller Games Barcelona 2019 is not to make it an ephemeral event. We want the Games to leave a mark on the world of roller sports, to increase people’s knowledge of these eleven disciplines, some of which are still very new,” explains Marc Caballé, the Executive Director of WRG Barcelona 2019. He adds: “We are looking to increase the number of people practising these sports, to create more facilities for roller sports practice in the city and to boost the sector in our country. And of course, we are also aiming to make the event grow, creating an attractive product for audiences and making it economically affordable for cities of all sizes, not just major capitals like Barcelona.”
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