His coach Fred Vergnoux, will leave the Spanish Federation after the Olympic Games in Tokyo and possibly both will end their relationship.
Go Mireia Belmonte packing to fly the next few days at Tokyo Olympics and the zipper does not close. It could be the size of the Spanish flag to carry at the opening ceremony, a “dream come true”, in his own words, but it is not. They are the doubts. Doubts about what I can do there. Doubts about what he will do when he returns.
At 30 years old, the best Spanish swimmer in history is in a delicate moment because of the tendinitis in the shoulders that follows her, and follows her, and follows her. In Japan he wants to overcome pain and time to expand his medal table – one gold, two silver and one bronze – but it will be more difficult than ever. And then …
“First it must be centered in Tokyo”, claims his trainer of always, Fred vergnoux, in conversation with EL MUNDO and his claim invites a return interrogation.
- How is Belmonte?
- She is motivated, very involved, she has done a couple of handsome workouts. He holds his shoulder as best he can, he still has some discomfort, but he is working with the physios. We are not going to see Mireia on the best days, but she can do a good job. If it is placed in the finals, we will see. Mireia is always Mireia.
In recent days, the couple, Belmonte and Vergnoux, have had to make a painful resignation. The Spanish woman will not be in the 200 meter butterfly, the test that enhances her career, in which she was Olympic champion in the 2016 Ro Games and world champion in 2017. Your shoulders can’t stand the demands of the test and competing so far from his level was not an option. “It is disappointing not to be able to defend the Olympic gold, but you have to go with your feet on the ground. The elite sport is like that, or you are at the maximum or you do not arrive”, admits Vergnoux after the enrollment of his pupil in only three events: the 800 meters and 1,500 meters freestyle and the 400 meters styles. In principle you could also swim the 4×100 relay styles together with Lidn Muoz, Jessica Vall and Africa Zamorano, but we will have to see how he responds.
After all, the effort that Belmonte has made to get to Tokyo has been exaggerated. At the beginning of the year, when she recovered her physical state after the pandemic stopped, the accentuation of the pain in her shoulders forced her to stop and left her in a difficult position. Vergnoux and his teammates went to the CAR of Sierra Nevada to train at altitude, a constant in this Olympic preparation. On the other hand, she was left alone in the CAR of Sant Cugat to recover and try to re-engage on the road. He did, but it took a lot, a lot of psychological work not to give in to the sadness. Perhaps it was the motivation for carrying the Spanish flag. Maybe that of seeing the end of the road.
Because on the way back from Tokyo, Vergnoux will leave his post as technical director of the Spanish Swimming Federation (RFEN), I will pack my bags in Barcelona and go to work at Club Natacin Metropole in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Whether or not Belmonte will follow him is still undecided.
- Is the Vergnoux-Belmonte marriage over?
- That’s a good question. I have spoken with all my swimmers about this subject except Mireia. I know that after the Games she will need to disconnect and that will mean forgetting about the swimming and about me. As a married couple, as you said, we both need to do our thing, take a breath, and we’ll see what happens next. I have a feeling that Mire would keep swimming after Tokyo, but it’s just a feeling. She is also 30 years old, she has already won everything, she is going to be the standard bearer …
At 48, Vergnoux speaks knowing that his methods have changed Spanish swimming. As a Belmonte technician a decade ago he has already set the path and as head of the Spanish Federation he has pushed the rest. Even if it was hard for him to see it. “I am leaving the Federation grateful, really. I realized late that my influence has been greater than I thought. I always said that they ignored me, but in the end I have seen that I have. With Mireia I think we have Doors have been opened and we have started a transition phase. A talented youth comes up “, concludes the French coach before closing a cycle at the Tokyo Olympics. The suitcase of his pupil, Mireia Belmonte, does not close now because of doubts, but it is that inside he already had many successes.