The staging of the World Roller Games in Barcelona means that many amateur athletes will have the chance to emerge for a few days from the anonymity in which they usually compete. Such is the case of Jordi Lino and Mònica Piosa, members of the Spain’s men’s and women’s Roller Derby teams who are hoping that the event will serve to boost a discipline that is entirely amateur in the WRG2019 host country.
“It’s a great opportunity for the public to find out what it’s all about. Roller Derby is a very spectacular, fast contact sport that is very physical and people are going to love it,” says Lino, who like Piosa was previously a rink hockey player.
Both of them agree that having practiced hockey is an advantage, as it “provides a very consistent basis” for skating. Several of the women’s team members have been world rink hockey champions, thereby proving their potential. This is why the women from Spain are facing the competition with optimism. “We’ve trained hard to compete at the highest level. We’re going for gold, even though the US is the big favourite,” admits Monica.
Roller Derby is still at a very early stage in Spain. In fact, the sport has only been practiced in the country for two years and still has no league competition, only the Spanish Cup and Championship are staged. Catalonia, Madrid and Valencia are the areas with men’s and women’s teams, with only the latter competing in the Canary Islands.
Practicing Roller Derby still implies hard work in Spain because of its amateur nature. Jordi Lino works as a computer specialist in the Physics Department of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Mònica Piosa combines her athletic activities with her work in the Volunteering and Participation Department of the WRG 2019.
Both train twice a week with their teams. Jordi does so in Mediterranean Rollers and Mònica in the Roller Derby section of the Bigues i Riells rink hockey club. “Our team is on the lookout for people,” claims Lino, who holds mixed training sessions at his club because of a lack of staff. “Anyone who wants to drop by, just look us up on Facebook and you’ll be very welcome. Well even show you how to skate if need be.”
Just like the women’s team, the Spanish men are competing for a medal at the World Roller Games. “We think we’re in with a chance and can even win gold with a bit of luck.” The US team will also be the men’s main obstacle on their way to the top of the podium, but this hasn’t curtailed Jordi Lino’s ambition.