If there is any pleasure in this kind of work, as journalist, undoubtedly one of them is having the opportunity to have a long talk with one of the most eminent persons, still active, in the Taekwondo community.
Elena, available to talk, as usual, has often talked with MasTKD before, however this is the first time she talks to us after being appointed Technical Director Taekwondo Royal Spanish Federation.
The conversation flowed in different directions; the highlights here:
Elena says that she likes to work taking into account the opinions and suggestions of her technical staff formed by Pepe, Tony, Marco and Rafa. Their goal is to place the largest number of athletes in the top 20 ranking positions to make sure that if any problem arises with one athlete, they have some substitutes with high level.
Regarding the challenge this year entails, Elena says: “We don´t want to burn out our athletes; we have three important competitions this year: the World Championships, the European Games and the Grand Prix. We have made a thoughtful and thorough planning. The amount of ranking events and the time between each other…it´s just crazy. We want our athletes to get to the big events in their best physical condition avoiding any injury that may put at risk their participation and the investment made in them”
Elena Benitez represents the “old school” Taekwondo and when asked about the changes in the competition rules, she says: “It has been a little crazy with too many changes. It is true that it is necessary to make improvements and to get the attention of the global media. We understand that Taekwondo needs to evolve but I would like that the competition rules are not changed too often. The athletes, the coaches, the referees get crazy with so many changes and every one of them must prepare on the way. We need enough time to prepare our athletes, our referees and our coaches when an amendment is applied; it is not overnight”.
When asked her opinion about the creation of a commission formed by coaches and referees in order to ask their opinion when making amendments on the competition rules, Benitez says: “I think that coaches are a group who work “down there”; they have first hand information and experience. It is the same with referees, they experience the changes in their “own flesh”. Both of them are a fundamental part of Taekwondo and it is important to consider their opinion. It would be great to have a commission formed by coaches and referees, because their opinion is significant”.
As the World Championships to be held in Chelyabinsk, Russia are around the corner, Benitez told us about it: “I think we have an excellent team; our athletes are strong. Obviously, the competition will be even more difficult than other previous competitions, it will be a too long competition, “hostile land”, especially for the athletes who now will have to manage the fact that the semifinals and finals are the next day … I do not know if this has changed or not, but for us it´s crazy and for the athletes, it´s a crime”
Benitez thinks that this format will be a detriment for the athletes´ performance. “You can keep the activation and focus on a one-day competition, but you lose it overnight. During a competition, the athletes progress as the matches flow and their performances increase in quality and level. When they get to the semifinals and finals, they get their optimal level. But the following day, they would have to start from zero. For me it would be torture, honestly. I do not know why they do it…if it is to suit the broadcasting or other reasons…I don´t know. It just doesn´t seem the right thing to do”
At the end of our pleasant conversation with Elena Benitez, she expresses her thanks and congratulations to MasTKD “on the excellent work you guys do, I trust on MasTKD and prefer it more than other publications. The information on dates, events and documents is reliable. I really think the work you do is necessary, there is no other digital media as yours. You keep us informed, connected and most important, united. The Superior Sports Council itself (CSD by its acronym in Spanish) usually visits your web in order to check on our team´s performance and I also send them the links often. You, guys, end up travelling along with the athletes, looking for the first hand information to keep us informed. That is great. Thanks a lot!”
Spanish National Team for Chelyabinsk, Russia:
Male: Jesus Tortosa -54 Kg., Alex Falgas -58 Kg., Joel González -63 Kg., José Antonio Rosillo -68 Kg., Raúl Martinez -74 Kg., (-80 Kg.to be confirmed), Daniel Rose -87 Kg. and Adrián Cabo +87 Kg.
Female: Eleaia Torrontegui -46 Kg., Brigitte Yagüe -49 Kg.,(to be confirmed -53 Kg.), Eva Calvo -57 Kg., Marta Calvo -62 Kg., Lua Pineiro -67 Kg., (to be confirmed in -73 Kg. and Rosanna Simón +73 Kg.
Matías Rojas, Exclusive MasTKD