“Double 20km and 35km is a personal challenge”

Maria Perez (Orce, 1996) faces her long-thought personal challenge at the World Cup in Budapest: doubling the 20km and 35km race walks – Sunday 7:15 am; Thursday 7 am :00 am, respectively – she has long felt capable and in fact she regretted not competing in the long distance at last Tokyo Olympics when she finished fourth in the sprint. Now, with just over a year left until the team relay of the 35-year event in Paris, the woman from Granada has had a very difficult 2022 due to both World Cup and World Championship disqualifications and hopes to Test yourself after a tough 2022. European Championships, with his coach Jacinto Garzón to get new technology. In March last year, she ran 1 minute 25.30 seconds in Córdoba, becoming the world leader in the annual 20km race.

How to get to Budapest?

– I feel good, I don’t know if it’s better than before, although it will show later in the game. I am happy and excited about the challenge of doubling the distance. It was a personal challenge for me and my body to see how it recovers in three and a half days. I will try to get two medals, but the main goal is to get to the finish line after last year’s difficulties. Whenever I compete, I give my all. I want to race now because the final week is getting longer, but the priority is the 20km because it’s the Olympic test.

– How does the fact of doubling the distance change your preparation?

– Until two weeks ago, I cycled more kilometers than usual, especially in Granada and the Sierra Nevada, up to 30 kilometers. It’s a mostly 20km based prep, but in terms of volume, there are two or three more specific sessions for 35km, increasing it from the 22-25km we usually do for 20km to 30km . I want to go fresh to 35km and avoid any kind of discomfort and injury.

– She is from 18 days of concentration in Font-Romeu (France).

– Yes, there, I work on speed first, as a specific job and a little volume. He had another ten-day intensive training in the Sierra Nevada, so a total of 28 high-altitude players, including the Spanish Championship in Torrent (Valencia).

– Don’t you think about the 35 kilometers on Thursday the 20th?

–35 is my reward for meeting the criteria, I’m curious how my body will recover, but aim for 20. A year ago there were 7 days to recover, not 4 days now. The first Olympic Squares in Budapest began to close; in fact, in principle, the finalists were guaranteed to make it to the final. I am very competitive and I always set myself the highest goals, but the priority is to achieve them and maximize.

– What options do you think you will have in 20 years?

– If I ride between the hour mark and 25 to 30 minutes in the past 20 races, I can get good results. I didn’t even look at the starting roster, but Kui Yang Shijie (20 and 35 bronze at the last Eugene World Cup) would only be 35, while Liu Hong, who was medaling with me in Tokyo, would be 20. In the end we’ll play it as usual, none of which are worse than the other. Everything will come to that day. In addition to me, the Peruvian Kimberly García will also voice because she has confirmed her seat for the Paris match on the 20th, and I think the Greek Antigoni Ntrismpioti There will also be dubbing.

How are you going to recover?

– On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I will have to do a lot of cryotherapy which includes cold compresses via gels, bags and sprays to reduce inflammation and pain to prevent discomfort. I’ll also try to eat well and train lightly, because no one is really ready for those two tests in so many days. Part of success is eating well after the effort. There you can earn a lot of points. The timing of the test will also benefit, as the weather in Budapest will be hotter than we expected.

– Have you already felt the new way of marching after changing techniques due to disqualification?

– It’s still hard for me to move forward in a different way than I’ve been in 12 years, but each time I feel more of myself. I still make mistakes because perfection doesn’t exist, and I’m an athlete, by myself, but I’m happy because I’ve also proven that I can go faster every time. Changes are visible, but progress remains slow. They still need to help us correct some things.

It’s a tough process, isn’t it?

– Yep… I barely marched in December, except for the last two weeks, and I didn’t start implementing the changes until early January. In less than six months, I managed to complete an international race like the Euros, where I give more credit to the fact of finishing than to the world record over 35km. I had a really bad time, it was like a love/hate relationship because the parade gave me everything, but it also took away everything from 2022. As I was asking for help and advice from other marchers and getting help and advice from other marchers, the goal was Paris I think I was on the right track and that would be where you have to prove everything.

– Are the Pacers still fighting to pull back 35km for next Olympics…

– There will be a general meeting during the World Cup to elect a new president of the World Federation and we will see if our representatives can exert some power as everything remains the same at the moment and in Paris there will only be a two man relay with one man and one woman replaced 35 players. This is continued disrespect for the oldest event on the Olympic calendar. If the reason is that it lasts longer, tennis matches or bicycle races last longer, those who are passionate about them, can look at them. We have been working together to adapt the parade for TV to make it more attractive, but the athletes work so hard every game to bring out their performances and it is unfair for them to treat us like this. We must fight. The prestige of Spanish athletics’ most decorated sport and the most anticipated at every international competition would be damaged if a test was canceled during the parade. We Spaniards are always candidates for finalists, but not all disciplines can have two or three representatives.

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