Medals and new records for Spanish swimmers: Catalina Corró, 400m medley, and Jessica Vall, 200m breaststroke. Mireia Belmonte takes silver for 800m freestyle. Photo: Tarragona 2018
The first Spanish women’s water polo team to win the gold medal in the Mediterranean Games. Photo: Tarragona 2018
Tarragona will be followed by Oran in hosting the XIX Mediterranean Games. Photo: Tarragona 2018
122 medals for Spain at the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona
From 22 June to 1 July, Tarragona played host to the XVIII Mediterranean Games – ten days of exciting sporting competitions involving 3648 athletes from 26 countries, attended by 150,000 visitors and covered by 828 reporters.
The Spanish delegation, led by flag-bearer Mireia Belmonte, had a brilliant performance: 122 medals – 38 gold, 40 silver and 44 bronze.
This year, the Mediterranean Games took golf and equestrian sports back in (after a hiatus in 2013), and included women’s water polo for the first time. These additions meant 600 more athletes than in Mersin 2013.
The first athlete to get a medal for Spain was Anna Godoy (triathlon), whose silver was the first in a long list of great achievements by Spaniards.
The sport with the largest number of medals (26) was swimming. The Campclar swimming pool witnessed a great many Spanish victories: Mireia Belmonte, gold in 200m medley and 200m butterfly (already an Olympic champion); Lidón Muñoz, with five medals; Jessica Vall, gold in 100m and 200m breaststroke; and Catalina Corró, gold in 400m medley.
Women also played brilliant roles in handball and water polo. The Spanish girls grabbed gold in water polo – their first in the Mediterranean Games –, while the men’s basketball team had to make do with bronze.
Other successful teams were the men’s U18 football squad and the Paula Soria-María Belén Carro duo in beach volleyball.
Weightlifter Lydia Valentín was a big winner too, grabbing gold for both snatch and clean and jerk in her weight class.
More gold medals came to Spain in the hands of runner Álvaro de Arriba (800m) and Nicolás Quijera (javelin throw) for athletics, and Roi Rodríguez (K-1 – 500m), Teresa Portela (K-1 – 200m), Carlos Garrote (K-1 – 200m) and Marcus Cooper Walz-Rodrigo Germade (K-2 – 500m) for canoeing, where Spaniards showed at the Olympic Canal in Castelldefels why they rule in this sport. In sailing, Spanish athletes got five medals.
Meanwhile, eight more gold medals came from judo (Julia Figueroa, Francisco Garrigós, María Bernabéu and Nikoloz Sherazadishvili) and taekwondo (Daniel Ros, Jesús Tortosa, Raúl Martínez and Javier Pérez). And there were more: Yulen Pereira in fencing, Gabriel Escobar in boxing, the men’s team in artistic gymnastics, Antonio Bailón in shooting, Pablo Abián in badminton, golfers in every category…
There were victories for disabled athletes belonging to the Spanish Federation of Disability Sport too. Eva Moral got silver in 800m in wheelchair T/54, while swimmers David Levecq and Saria Gascón grabbed silver and bronze, respectively, in 100m freestyle S10.
Using as many as 16 sporting facilities and almost 3000 volunteers, the XVIII Mediterranean Games were intended to strengthen ties, solidarity and harmony in the Mediterranean. The Tarragona 2017 Foundation and the Red Cross strove to promote these values and raise awareness of current concerns like forced migration.
Tarragona hands over the baton
According to Amar Addadi, President of the International Committee of Mediterranean Games, the Tarragona Games ‘have been a success.’ Beyond the achievement of sporting and social goals, the event showed Tarragona to the world – a Mediterranean city with a fascinating history (named ‘Tarraco’, it was the oldest Roman settlement in the Iberian Peninsula) and a dazzling architectural heritage (including protected sites of Roman origin like the Amphitheatre, the Praetorium and the Circus). The XIX Mediterranean Games will be held in Oran in 2012.