THECUBE, in Madrid – an arena for inspiration, innovation and new technology, which also hosts the EnelHub – was the venue for the official announcement of the women’s basketball team who will compete in the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket tournament, between 27 June and 7 July, in Serbia and Latvia. The 17 pre-selected players, the technical team, CEO of Endesa José Bogas, and the President of the FEB Jorge Garbajosa, held a short press conference with the sponsors and other institutions also in attendance.
The 17 players starting out on this journey are Andrea Vilaró, Georgina Bahi, Nogaye Lo, María Araújo, María Conde, María Pina, Tamara Abalde, Queralt Casas, Astou Ndour (who will join the intensive training camp a little late), Cristina Ouviña, Leo Rodríguez, Laura Gil, Marta Xargay, Anna Cruz, Silvia Domínguez, Laura Nicholls and Laia Palau. The technical team is made up of Lucas Mondelo, César Rupérez, Madelen Urieta, Isaac Fernández, Francisco Abellán, Juan Carlos Palacio, Óscar Delgado, Jordi Aragonés and Susana Ferreras.
Head coach Lucas Mondelo stated: “The ambition driving this team forward cannot be in doubt. Our aim is to make it to the Olympic Games, but we know the European Championship will be tougher than the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. As our motto ‘queremos más’ [We Want More!] says, we intend to go for gold, which will be the best way to get to the Games. From there... well, the sky’s the limit.”
Squad captain Laia Palau added: “We feel ourselves part of the current upsurge in women's sport. Spain’s Federación was one of the first institutions to believe in us and lend us their support. What is clear is that if you support women’s sport, you will see results.”
Laura Nicholls said the team intends to “work hard and keep pushing for new successes”, while Silvia Domínguez stated: “each summer, we have a specific goal in mind. This year, our goal is Tokyo 2020. Those are the values that hold this team together.” Anna Cruz analysed the first phase of the European tournament, saying “we have a great deal of respect for all our competitors”, while Marta Xargay praised the “wonderful atmosphere you always find within this team”. Finally, Laura Gil joked: “I’ve still got space in my cabinet for a medal or two more.”
José Bogas, CEO of Endesa, thanked the women’s team for being there, remembering that “just under a year ago, we had a similar event when you were on your way to the World Cup in Tenerife. You came home with a bronze medal, but in actual fact, you came back with more than that: you had the love, affection and gratitude of basketball fans all over Spain. They say that success = talent + luck. Well, you’ve got talent in spades, and with the heart you put into your game, you really don’t need luck any more”.
Jorge Garbajosa, the President of the FEB, brought proceedings to a close, announcing: “This is one of those wonderful mornings we all dream about. With this team, our Marketing, Promotion and Communication departments have an easy job, coming up with mottos such as ‘Queremos Más’. What we can all see is that, year after year, you’re going in search of new objectives, pursuing new challenges, reinventing yourselves because... you want more! We are right behind you, every step of the way. Work needs to be put in, every day – by every player, at every club, under every coach – but we need something we can all believe in, something to focus on... and that something is you.”
Alba Torrens, who is out with a knee injury, could not be there, but sent her teammates a video message. “I have no doubt of the conviction, commitment and fight in this team. Even before tip-off, that is a great victory in itself. Onwards and upwards now, and compete as best you can. The very best of luck, and enjoy every moment!” said the player from Mallorca.
In the run-up to the EuroBasket, the team will play a total of nine friendlies. La Ruta 2019 (The Journey 2019) will take Mondelo's team to four cities in two countries. Burgos, Zaragoza, Wevelgem (Belgium) and Fuenlabrada, in that order, will host Spain’s warmup games. It will be the team’s first Sustainable Ruta, as Endesa has committed to offset all the CO2 generated during the warmup sessions, demonstrating the desire to protect our planet.