Figure skating is a minority sport with great potential. One need only look at Spain’s medal table from the last European Championships, in which the national team won twelve gold, ten silver and five bronze medals, in its best showing in history, according to the Spanish Skating Federation. Aragon follows the trail; At the international level, the names of Ana Abad, Naiara Tena or the group PA Aurora sound. They are now joined by the young Paula Benito, recent European runner-up, and Patricia Castelreanas. Castelreanas, just 16 years old, had a dream come true last August from climbed to the third step of the World Cup podium was held in Göttingen (Germany). “I just cried when I saw that all the work had this big prize,” says the skater.
Figure skating entered Castelreanas’ life 10 years ago by accident: “It was an extracurricular activity at school. I wanted to dance, but only the older students could. “I started skating because some friends were going,” she says. He then joined the Alvia Skate Club, founded in 2011 and based in La Cartuja Baja. From this year she will compete as a representative of the Utebo Patin club together with the European runner-upPaula Benito, with whom she admits they get along “very well”.
What started as a hobby turned into a lifestyle that Castelreanas never imagined would take her this far. The young competitor participated in the national team for three consecutive seasons and managed to win numerous medals at regional and national level. All this is achieved with hard work and passion both on and off the track. Five days of training a week in which not only work on wheels, “We have to take care of our diet, work on flexibility, physical fitness and the artistic part, which is also very important”explains the Zaragoza, who started this first year in high school.
To work on how to face big competitions and fears, he is supported by a sports psychologist. “Although I’ve had many occasions to deal with pressure, every championship is different,” he says. This pressure led to the fact that in the last national championship, not everything went as he wanted. The young competitor achieved the seventh position, which gives more importance to the international medal for the start of the next season. However, the emotions that skating arouses in the young woman do not disappear: “It is inexplicable. The satisfaction of doing jumps or pirouettes, that adrenaline or finishing a good championship is indescribable“, admits Castelreanas.
Feelings combined with the responsibility and pride of representing one’s land. Patricia Castelreanas was the only Aragonese to be able to take part in the World Cup final, “it was also a great boost to try to represent Aragon in the best possible way”. Also, to be together with the best skaters in the world “and to see that you are one of them gives incredible motivation”.
Figure skating requires a lot of persistence and dedication. “We’ve seen it in Patricia on a daily basis and for us to see her grow in this discipline from scratch is a pride and reward“, says Fernando Casanova, coach of the young woman until last season. “She is a skater who has everything she learned from herself: attitude, abilities and humility. He always has a message of support for his teammates,” he adds.
The international experience is a dream come true for the young skating promise. “I always watched those championships as a kid and thought “I wish I could be there when I grow up”. That it has become a reality, as we don’t have as many facilities in Aragon as elsewhere, is impressive.”
Casanova points out that in recent years, figure skating has undergone a significant evolution, which can be seen in the interest it generates, even though it is a discipline that does not have much fame or financial support. The skater points out that “all the work behind it is not appreciated”. In the economic part, most costs are borne by the athletes. “We get about 150 euros from the Aragon Federation if you manage to qualify for the Spanish championship. Some international competitions are paid for by the Spanish federation, but most competitions or concentrations are our responsibility,” he says.
Castelreanas has a promising future in the world of sports. He admits that in the future he would like to make a living from his passionespecially as a coaching team to help others achieve their cycling dreams.
Aragonese figure skating has a career. This year, Aragón has 1292 federal skaters – 1257 girls and 35 boys – in 52 clubs throughout the territory. Most are between 10 and 15 years old. Although they accept children as young as 4, “they usually don’t start competing until they’re 6 or 7,” says Sergio Escudero, president of the Aragon Skating Federation.
In terms of sports, Aragon stands out. Only Catalonia stands out ahead, “we can say we are equal in results with Madrid and Galicia”Escudero points out.