by Ian Marshall, Editor
Now, over two decades later, there is no lack of experience, the question that faces the Spaniard, born in Seville but now resident in Madrid, is one of fitness.
“My focus is on Tokyo, but everything depends on how my body reacts. Intensive training is difficult owing to the pandemic; it’s difficult to maintain your level of play, for me it’s very difficult physically. Training camps have been cancelled; each day I try to practise for one hour, you just have to manage the best you can.” Alvaro Valera
Difficult times and in Tokyo testing opponents await.
“In the top four, always there is Denmark’s Peter Rosenmeier, he has a consolidated game, Thailand’s Rungroj Thainiyom is powerful and Great Britain’s David Wetherill is a tough opponent. However, nowadays there are players who have no world ranking, whose level is becoming stronger and stronger, in Tokyo it could be very interesting.”
It is very much the same situation as we look forward to 2024, the spirit is willing; can the body respond?
“Everything depends on my body; maybe I can stretch things to Paris in 2024, it is now three years away, a little shorter distance. At the moment I’m leaving things open, go with the flow, when the time comes to decide, I’ll look at the next step.” Alvaro Valera
A host of medals to his credit, in addition to the Paralympic Games, he owns five World Championships gold medals plus 11 at the European Championships, as well enough at open international tournaments to cover the whole Iberian Peninsula!
Quite incredible, especially when considered that year by year his physical condition has deteriorated. He stands out from the crowd, but there is one other fact that makes Alvaro Valera stand out even further.
On Thursday 31st December 2020, as midnight struck and became Friday 1st January 2021, he had completed ten years in top spot on the world rankings. On Monday 1st January 2011, he rose to the pinnacle on the Class 7 listings, later in the year in October, when adjusted to class 6, he continued at the top of the order.
A total of 120 months, 3,653 days and the number is growing by the second!
The statistics pay tribute to the determination, the positive nature and strength of character displayed by Alvaro Valera – an icon, a role model and Spain’s only Paralympic Games table tennis gold medallist!