“Encouraging physical activity should be as important as studying math or English”

05/13/2021 at 8:00 AM CEST


Liliana Fernandez is known in the beach volleyball world as Lili. Her and his companion of toil, Elsa vaquerizoThey will be two of the Spanish representatives in the Olympic Games that Tokyo hosts this summer, the same ones that last year had to be suspended due to the pandemic. “It was a very fat stick & rdquor ;, he acknowledges Lili to this diary.

The athlete, who is an ambassador for Iberdrola, will be one of the posh guests of the conference “Growing up in sports & rdquor; that this newspaper organizes, hand in hand with the Sport newspaper, this Friday. The conferences, with a 100% online format, can be followed for free on the websites of LA OPINIÓN-EL CORREO DE ZAMORA and Sport and on the Facebook profiles of both newspapers. The event, which is organized with the encouragement of Iberdrola, will also be attended by María O’Mullony, a Bera Bera handball player and the Spanish National Team. Led by the director of LA OPINIÓN-EL CORREO, Marisol López, the conference will feature a round table in which Laura Gil, head of Sponsorship at Iberdrola, Carles Martín, Global Director of Barça Academy and Julián Lafuente, director of Communication will participate of the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation. But today it is Lili’s turn, who attends LA OPINIÓN-EL CORREO in this previous interview.

“Growing up in sports & rdquor; or the importance of promoting sports practice among the little ones. What message do you want to launch on Friday?

I want to point out the need to promote grassroots sport at the earliest ages, in adolescence and even before, and especially in girls. I would like to convey that sport has helped me as a person from a very young age, since I started practicing it. It helped me to organize myself at the study level, to take advantage of the time I had, to organize myself very well. That I always had something to do, because if it wasn’t studies, it was the Conservatory or ballet. But it helped me a lot to organize my time. When I was saturated with studies, sport helped me to clear my mind and then resume what I was doing with more concentration. Team sport, at an early age, helps kids a lot to learn values ​​that sometimes are not learned in school, such as sharing, commitment, effort, sacrifice. Something that is not learned in the day to day if you do not practice a sport.

Do you think that, due to the pandemic, the promotion of physical activity in children has taken a back seat?

Sport activates many biological processes that are very important for health. Encouraging physical activity should be as important as learning math, English, or any other subject, but many times it is not. In addition, already in school, sports are focused on competition when it should not be like that. Children are pushed too hard to be the best when the important thing about this is to create a routine, a healthy habit. You don’t have to focus everything on the result. Playing sports is a way of life. Everything focuses on children being the best when the important thing at an early age is that they have a love for sport and that they want to practice it.

What, in addition, generates frustration in the kids.

Sure, it’s dangerous. Sometimes inadvertently it is the teachers, coaches or parents who compare them, who differentiate those who are better from those who are worse and those who do better from those who do worse. It creates a dynamic that is not good and many kids drop out, which is not the best either. Sport teaches commitment. If a child signs up for football, you shouldn’t discourage him if he isn’t the best, you have to tell him that he must finish the year, that he has committed himself. Those are values. It is important that they are in a group, that they learn from each other. This must be managed by the teacher, or the coach, but not by comparing. You can say “look at your partner, look at the way he handles this situation & rdquor ;, or“ look at the patience he has & rdquor ;. This is the good thing about sport. It shows you the best of yourself but puts you in front of the mirror of the worst. And that is good because, if it is channeled well, it allows us to improve a lot. In sports and in all aspects of life.

Changing the subject. How is training for the Olympic Games going?

Well well. Now we are training hard in Tenerife. Next week we fly to Russia to participate in the World Cup to try to do our best and then to think about the Games.

How was the moment when they announced to you, last year, that the 2020 Games are suspended?

At first it was tough, although it was obviously the right thing to do because of the pandemic. But if we speak on a sporting level, we had made a great effort to get there. We got the Olympic place in September 2019 and we decided not to stop, to have a good preseason and to start at full speed in March 2020. We couldn’t, and it’s a shame because we came with a lot of pace and with good dynamics. We had learned many things and we wanted to show them in competition. It was an important break, but we did not start from scratch. It cuts the pace with which we wanted to get to the Games, but that has happened to everyone.

How were the training sessions during the confinement?

My husband helped me a lot. The first days we started practicing on a small piece of land that I have. He took some jugs of water and filled them with concrete so that he would have some weights to train with. They weighed 70 kilos. We adapted a mountain bike with a roller that we had to do the cardio part. When we saw that the confinement was going for more than two weeks we already had to smooth the ground, I bought a volleyball net on the Internet and well, there we were, doing what we could. At least we had a good time with the family with the child and the dog (laughs).

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Zverev champion of the Mutua Madrid Open 2021