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Garcia slates Spanish swimming coverage

August 15, 2013
Mireia Belmonte

Mireia Belmonte

The most decorated Spanish swimmer of all time Mireia Belmonte Garcia has launched a stinging attack on the coverage of the sport in her homeland after breaking two world records at the World Cup meet in Berlin last weekend.

Belmonte followed up winning two silvers and a bronze medal at the World Championships in Barcelona by breaking the short course records in the 400m and 800m freestyle events in the German capital, becoming the first woman to ever go under eight minutes for the 800m in the process.

And she said her success was even more remarkable given the lack of funding provided for the trip by the Spanish swimming authorities.

“I had to travel by bus for nine hours from Eindhoven (where the previous World Cup meet had been held) to Berlin with my legs totally cramped. When I arrived they were ready to burst. I had swam 16 times in four days and I needed to relax, but I just had to grin and bare it,” she told Spanish newspaper ABC.

And the 22-year-old compared the coverage her plight and records received in the national press to the country’s football team who have travelled to Ecuador to play a friendly on Wednesday evening.

“I am the first woman to go under eight minutes in the history of swimming, but a rumour about a (football) signing or the colour of Sergio Ramos‘s hair is more important,” she said.

“I think that when you make an effort and dedicate your whole life to represent your country, the minimum they should do is recognise you and do all they can to help you.”

Sapa – AFP

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