How did some primary school teachers manage to make all of Almería love handball?

How did some primary school teachers manage to make all of Almería love handball?

The 1980s was the decade of the legendary 1982 World Cup, where football was ubiquitous, with Naranjito as its mascot and king of the sport. But what was taking shape at José Salazar Public School in El Ejido (Almería) was the seed of an unusual hobby for an entire state for a different sport: handball.


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Alex Sala, current secretary of the Cantera Sur Handball Club, explains that one of the teachers, Fernando Montes, decided to get in touch with Adra, Roquetas de Mar and other trainers in the capital of Almería because they were “tired of just hearing about football”. Ejido Thus, they included handball in the First Physical Education lesson.

Fernando Montes is long dead, but his sporting legacy has not diminished one iota. The taste of handball has also been passed on from generation to generation. Nilo Peral confirms this: “It’s very common here for a father or mother to tell you that when they leave class, they get their kids signed up for handball.” In fact, her two teenage grandchildren have already signed up for the school team.



After playing handball since the age of 10, Peral returned to El Ejido for José Salazar at the age of 26, taking in the witness Fernando Montes, of whom he was teammate and director at the time. With the help of the parents’ association, “I continued the hobby they created.” Miguel Carreño, Miguel Romero, Pascual Torres or Cristóbal Ordoño are the names of teachers associated with the promotion of this sport, which Nilo fondly remembers.

sports figures

Since then, handball cannot be understood without Almería. It’s so popular in this state that even local station Radio Poniente in El Ejido has an hour-a-day program dedicated to the sport. Its director, Jesús Callejón, comments to this media, “What I know is strange because no one in any other state or community gives handball as much as we do.”

In fact, Peral has no trouble describing historical figures from Almería, such as Miguel Paris in Carboneras, M. Castillo in Adra, or Miguel Moreno and Rafael Florido in the capital of Almería. The latter is the founder of the Goya Club. Florido’s whole life is devoted to teaching and sports. The headmaster and professor of the Goya School made the practice of handball the hallmark of this centre. With hundreds of boys and girls starting this sporting activity, Goya is today one of the main and most representative handball clubs in Almería, fully affiliated with the school and participating in the main national competitions.

The biggest success of this club came with the consolidation of the women’s team as one of the best in national handball history. Florido passed away on November 3, 1999 at the age of 53, but he left behind one of the most important clubs Almería has ever owned. The city thanked him for his dedication by renaming the sports pavilion on Avenida del Mediterráneo as the Rafael Florido Municipal Sports Complex.

From school: the example of María Gómes and Ricardo Moya

An excellent example of how handball has evolved from schools is the name: María Gómes Da Costa. He is considered one of the biggest projectionists in national handball and was the flagship of Senator Hotels BM Roquetas Bahía de Almería in the Silver Honor Division until 2020. “Sports is highly encouraged in Almería, but handball takes the cake because in my experience the recruitment in schools is very good; he also does a lot by word of mouth”, explains the rocker.



Gómes told elDiario.es Andalucía that he signed up with his friend Rebeca as an extracurricular sport at CEIP Llanos de Marín (Cortijos de Marín, Roquetas de Mar): “They threw me a lot of passes and formed my little group of friends. That’s what kept me going. Then came the competitions with other rival schools, and this is how my family grew over the years, teaching me values ​​such as friendship, respect and hard work.” Gómes Da Costa, who plays for Rocasa Gran Canaria today, confirms that “many schools in Almeria have handball.” 2018- She became the second top goal scorer in all national categories in the 2019 season, and the top scorer in the Women’s Silver Honor Division with 174 goals in 23 games in the past. Gómes said handball was “for fun in my childhood and is now one of the things I enjoy most in life.” She affirms that, as well as being “my job and what sustains me right now”. Now she is also the pioneer of a feminine category that does nothing but achieve success.

Something similar happened to Ricardo Moya, player of the CD Urci Almería state team, who started playing this sport at school at the age of 7: “My PE teacher asked me to try it and I really liked it”. Moya admits that handball is well established in Almeria schools because it’s an “inexhaustible pool” because “both teachers and coaches are fully involved in getting the kids to try this sport and get them easily addicted, to get their classmates at the school to play, too.” . It has always been linked to handball as a coach, a player and now a manager. At 32, he is already president of Urci Almería Beach Handball and emphasizes that this method is “in the growth stage” because it is “very attractive to the public” and allows them to recruit more players and get more help from trusted companies every year. “They let us grow and kids can enjoy this sport”.



2,000 federal

Miguel Romero, president of Roquetas De Mar Handball Club, states that teachers have a lot of work to recognize this sport in schools and agrees with other statements: “From now on, institutional support and clubs reinforce this first seed”. There are now more than two thousand federated licenses every year, and “aside from the quantity, there is a high qualification with excellent results from Almeria teams in both the junior and senior categories,” Romero boasts.

Luis Navarro is a 26-year-old former handball player who had the opportunity to play in Italy. He, like the majority, started this sport from school. “It was more special because you played for fun with your friends, and besides, I came across a very good generation,” Navarro emphasizes when they were in the subcategories.

Roquetas de Mar City Council Sports and Leisure Council Member Pepe Rubí emphasizes that success in sports is the result of various factors, the promotion of this sport in schools, and the trust of parents in the club. and the professionalism of the entire coaching team”. Because right now the municipality is proud to have the Women’s Silver Honor Division team as the highest reference in Almeria handball. “A team that has achieved all its success based on effort, sacrifice and hard work: more than 400 athletes, with coaches and monitors working hard every day to get the most out of these young people,” explains Rubí.

Rubí has ​​won two gold medals in the women’s and junior men’s categories of the last Andalusian Championships, as well as four silver medals in the regional championships in the men’s junior, women’s student, junior women’s and senior men’s categories. in the girls’ category, along with two Andalusian bronze medals in the junior women’s category.

“They would be proud if they knew about our achievements”

Everyone related to handball agrees that this sport is not given as much importance and visibility as football. María Gómes Da Costa believes it is not promoted or supported as it should be. “Neither the provincial press, nor the local radio stations, nor the posters for people to know of our existence are never too many,” She insists to the actress. “If half the people of Almeria were aware of all our achievements, they would be proud of us and this great sport,” she thinks. However, he explains that support has always come from clubs and, where appropriate, from Roquetas City Council because he “does a great job with his constant presence in support and championships”. “We work every day to cooperate with all clubs to promote public sports, improve and modernize our facilities and make Roquetas de Mar a true ‘Sports City’,” said Councilor Rubí.

Ricardo Moya believes that no sport can match football in terms of both sponsorship and charity: “We don’t have the power that football has and therefore it always stays in the background”. “Television does a lot to grow a sport, and it’s also very helpful that major companies trust you so that the season is easier to organize,” he adds.

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