Sport does justice to Queralt Castellet, by Celes Piedrabuena

In the middle of Wednesday afternoon, in the prelude to the big dawn that was approaching, I called Josep, the father of Queralt Castellet, an affable man, always contained in his emotions and whom I have known for many years. After the usual greetings, Josep told me “I think he has a very good round that could be worth a medal”. And so it was hours later. The Catalan rider is, like Ander Mirambell, a pioneer of snowboarding in our country. An athlete made from blows, of a kind from another planet, in a sports modality in which she does not have the necessary sports facilities to train in Spain, although there is a halfpipe in La Molina and another in Sierra Nevada. An athlete who started in snow sports with alpine skiing, who fell in love with snowboarding thanks to her parents – now retired and who don't miss an opportunity to put on the board now that they enjoy more free time –, her brother Josep and to his friends in Ordino (Andorra), and that he found technical support in the gym when he needed it, but as happens with any self-respecting love relationship, this one has been marked by ups and downs.
Queralt is a self-made rider. A rider who has had the virtue of getting up a thousand times, no matter how many setbacks life has given her, of knowing how to focus on the Halfpipe modality, after hitting the Big Air and the Boarder Cross in her beginnings and overcoming all its own kind of injury, typical of a sport, snowboarding, that is unforgiving. As a young man he suffered a broken scaphoid in Saas Fee 2006, competing all season with a broken scaphoid in his left hand, disobeying his father's advice, he fractured two vertebrae competing in boarder cross and always showed an unusual personality . Only in this way can traumas be overcome, such as losing his friend, partner and coach, the New Zealander Ben Jolly, a news that reached him by telephone, at the age of 24 and after hanging silver at the World Championship in Kreischberg (Austria) 2015. His loss made him rethink many things, until one day he felt the call of snowboarding again, a sport that was going to show its bitter face at the Olympic Games. Many are those who still remember his serious fall training in the final of Salt Lake City 2010, in which he suffered a severe blow to the head that prevented him from continuing to compete when he agreed with the third best score, or how in Sochi 2014 he suffered a double fall in the final rounds when he entered the big moment with the second best score.
But if Queralt is characterized by something, it is by its capacity for work and tenacity. She went to Beijing knowing that many eyes were on her, that many of the medal options of the Spanish delegation were based on her board, but the rider from Sabadell drew from experience and made good predictions, with a rider who has marked an era in winter sports in Spain and which still has rope for a while. Justice was done, even if it was early in the morning in Spain.

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