María López ‘La Gijonesa’

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Who is Maria López?

I’m 25 years old and I’m from Gijón but when I was 18 I moved to Madrid where I combined my studies with hockey up until last year when I graduated in Business Administration and Directing.

Whenever I can I try to play other sports, go out to dinner and travel.

Why and when did Hockey beggan in your life?

I started playing on a summer camp at my club, Grupo Covadonga, when I was 8 years old. I played tennis and my older brother played hockey, and as always I wanted to do what he was doing so I tried it out and in the end, given that it is such an entertaining sport and given that I made a lot of friends, it became my way of life.

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Can you tell us about your career?

As I said before I started playing when I was 8 in Grupo Covadonga, when I turned 18 I went to live in the high performance centre in Madrid and I started playing with Valdeluz. A year later I moved to Club de Campo and in the 5 years that I have been there I have won 4 leagues, 3 national cups, 2 silver medals in the European Indoor Championships and this year we finished 3rd in the European Outdoor Championships.

How would you describe yourself as a player?

As a defender I try to be a safe player, with the capability to start the build up of possession and being tough to beat in 1v1 situations.

You are part of the Spanish National Team that is working very hard to try to get the Olympic qualification. What is the situation right now regarding your possibilities to go to Rio next summer?

Right now we need Australia or New Zealand to win the Oceana Cup, South Africa to win the Africa Cup for Nations and, as has been commented, for them to renounce their place in the Games as African champions because they didn’t achieve qualification via the World League as was the condition set by their Olympic Committee.

Spain or the #RedSticks is investing in training very hard and putting a lot of time in fitness. Can you tell us a little about what means to be part of the team and which kind of preparation you are doing in the last months?

We know that fitness is the important thing in modern day hockey and we changed our ways of thinking in the World League Round 3 in London a few years ago.

We started doing individualised programmes every day with a GPS and heart rate monitor that we uploaded every day so that our fitness coach could modify our programmes depending on the time of the season and our current physical state at that time.

And that is how after two years of hard work we have been able to see a noticeable improvement in our fitness, we have seen that we can now compete against the best teams in the world.

What is missing for Spain to return to the very top?

That private investors come on board more with the clubs to get a stronger and more competitive domestic league.

By tradition Barcelona always had the strongest teams and hockey academies in Spain but you play in a club from Madrid. How do you see the internal competition and the regional rivalry?

I think that hockey in Madrid has grown a lot over the past few years and there has been a lot of attention paid to the youth teams in the different clubs in Madrid who as a result have achieved some great results at their national competitions.

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What does the future brings for you inside and outside the pitch?

On the pitch in the domestic league I hope to continue getting success with Club de Campo as well as in European competition. And with the national team I hope to be representing Spain at the next Olympic games in Rio 2016.

Away from the pitch I would love to find a good job and spend more time with my family, friends and boyfriend.

What is your ultimate hockey goal?

Without a doubt to win a medal at an Olympic Games!

María López García

@9marialopez

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