Sant Cugat's High Performance Sports Center reaches 25 years of history

Cristian González

3 October, 2012

This 2012 Center of High Performance of Sant Cugat celebrates its 25th anniversary in a good shape. The 23 last January opened a new module of 26.000 square meters of sports facilities that position it again in the international avant-garde of the preparation of elite athletes.

Coinciding with the impulse of the Barcelona bid to organize the 1992 Olympics, the CAR of Sant Cugat was born in the year 1987 with the aim of being an organization that would support autochthonous sports so that it was competitive on a scale international, optimizing resources of the highest technical and scientific quality. "It was a turning point in Catalan sport, as it has achieved its sports level, partly thanks to the work developed by the CAR of Sant Cugat," says Ivan Tibau, sport of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

The project began to chew the 1984, when it was already clear that Barcelona had real possibilities of organizing Olympic Games thanks to the structuring of a very powerful candidature. For this reason, Josep Lluís Vilaseca, general secretary of the sport at that time, convinced the president of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Jordi Pujol, that if the Catalan capital finally organized an Olympic Games, it was necessary to have athletes well prepared for to play a good role in the Olympic event. A quarter of a century later, this purpose has been fulfilled extensively and in the words of Joan Fontserè, director of the CAR of Sant Cugat, "thanks to the fact that during all these years a great work has been done, now we are with a high performance sporting center that has a lot of international prestige thanks to the successes achieved by our country's athletes ».

The CAR has equipped the tools of the high performance sportsmen so that they can train of optimal way in conditions of competition. In addition, the Generalitat of Catalonia has established the High Performance Catalan (ARC) program, in which the federations choose the sports program to follow. "We have developed a method that has allowed us to generate a lot of knowledge in the field of high sports performance," explains Fontserè.

The center is organized basically in seven units: management, administration, academia, science, sports, health and technology. From the academic area one looks for the training of the sportsman, a fundamental objective for the CAR of Sant Cugat. It is for this reason that the center offers its athletes the necessary tools for their educational development. The CAR athletes can attend high school and ESO class or at the institute that exists in the same facilities of the CAR, with a highly qualified teaching staff.

The health and science units deal with disciplines such as physiology, physiotherapy, medicine, biomechanics, podiatry and psychology. The technology unit develops the technology applied to sport through image analysis in order to improve the training of the athlete. Finally, the CAR also has a customer service office that binds federations and sportsmen who make or want to use the services and facilities offered by the center.

"We are about 80 own workers, but if we also add the personal trainers that the federations place there, the figure amounts to 135 people", informs Fontserè.

Sports facilities
Within the seventeen hectares of extension available to the CAR there is an athletics track, a field of natural grass football, an outdoor Olympic swimming pool, a women's artistic gymnasium, a pavilion with four tennis courts of resins Synthetic, three clay courts, a male artistic gymnasium, a boxing hall, a weightlifting room, four bodybuilding rooms, a fight room, a taekwondo lounge, a judo hall, Fencing, a shooting area, a table tennis space, a beach volley court and a hockey field in the city of Terrassa.

In addition, with the new module of 26.000 square meters that was inaugurated on January 23 the center also has a swimming pool covered with 50 x 25 meters for water polo and swimming, a pool of 30 x 21 meters for swimming Synchronized and a swimming pool of 15 x 21 meters for jumps. Some gymnastics and bodybuilding rooms have also been relocated.

The new module has had a cost of 40,5 million euros and has made it possible to put an end to the modernization demands that lasted for years. "Until now, some of the facilities such as the gymnastics and taekwondo halls were located in a space that originally was thought to be a mechanical workshop," explains Fontserè, and recalls that "do not forget that before being the CAR, this was a mutual center where victims of labor came to rehabilitate and learn professions adapted to their injuries ». Despite the limitations of the old space, Spanish gymnastics has achieved three Olympic medals and has created a Gervasi Deferr. For the director of the CAR "new equipment was needed to recognize the achievements and also to ensure future successes, that's why we have also opted for enhancing swimming facilities, where exactly the same happened, since disciplines such as Synchronized swimming has given us many sporting successes all these years. "

But not everything in the new module is perfect. "It is a mistake that the 26.000 square meters of the 9.000 building only correspond to sports spaces, because the rest have been allocated to corridors, stairs and dead spaces," Fontserè lamented, adding that "they have made a walkway • the connection to the residence that does not make any sense because it caused so many annoyances of noise to the residents of the third plant that we decided to close it ». The director of the CAR considers that "the previous government made the mistake of not having in mind the opinion of the people of the center when it comes to specifying the design of the new module".

The construction of the building also brought with it an added problem, since the 40,5 million euros it cost, the Higher Sports Council had pledged to finance the 35% (some 12 million euros) . The rest of the investment was assumed by the Generalitat de Catalunya (28,8 million euros). At the closing date of this magazine, the reality is that the Catalan government has had to pay 89% of the total cost of the work, while the highest Spanish sports body has not yet paid 5,5 million euros. From the General Secretariat of Sport they are confident to solve the problem. "The Secretary of State for Sport, Miguel Cardenal, publicly acknowledged this problem and hoped to resolve it in the future, and I am fully convinced that they will end up paying off the debt they are paying with the CAR," explains Ivan Tibau , remembering that "we should not forget that all the Spanish federations are trained in the CAR and it would not be normal for them not to pay this money, that is why we hope and wish that Mr. Cardinal meets his word."

The athletes
Throughout the 25 years of history of the CAR, it is estimated that 25.000 different athletes have been used. At the moment, the center, on a normal day of the season, receives the visit of 1.000 athletes. «The beds of the residence are never occupied because many of our users are people who come to train and do not sleep in the center, although now, in the low season, we have 120 busy beds», explains Fontserè.

This 2012 has been attended by athletes from countries such as Germany, Australia, Belarus, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, the United States, Spain, Finland, France, Great Britain, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Ukraine, Chile and China.

An example is the Mexican swimmer María Fernanda González, for whom the center's staff are very attentive, flexible, friendly and familiar. "I also loved the facilities that the new module has provided, frankly it was a surprise because when we came my coach and I did a year and a half there was nothing of that, and now I find a indoor pool of 50 meters that is perfect for training ». In this same sense, his personal trainer, Armando Fernández, expresses himself, for whom the new module is "impressive". Apart from the facilities the preparer of the Mexican swimmer chose the CAR because "the food offered is good, the treatment of professionals is excellent and the center is out of the city, which avoids having certain distractions. »

Another athlete who knows CAR Sant Cugat very well is the canary athlete Ivan Rodríguez Ramallo, who frequented the facilities for ten years. «I prefer the CAR of Sant Cugat to the Blume of Madrid because it is more familiar and less saturated, not to mention that with the new module the center is modernized after a few years that it was necessary to improve the installations.»

Challenges for the future
Despite the current crisis environment and austerity policies of the government, the CAR will continue to have the support of the Generalitat of Catalonia. For Ivan Tibau, "we must ensure that CAR continues to be the center that captures the great sportsmen of the country and is a pole of attraction for different sports disciplines and federations." In this same direction, Joan Fontserè says: "Together with the General Secretariat of Sport and the federations we are a team in which some develop programs, the others provide the coaches and we provide facilities and services."

The immediate challenges of the center are to continue modernizing the facilities with small actions that do not imply large investments and, on the other hand, to work in depth to look to further internationalize the prestige of the CAR. In this regard, taking advantage of the past Olympic Games held in London, the CAR had an information and promotion office open.

"On the other hand, we have a project of official protection accommodation to try to solve the collapse problem that we have and also to give the petition some athletes who demand more privacy," explains Fontserè, despite which recognizes that "we will try to execute this project based on the resources we have available for the next years."

the author

Cristian González

Graduate in Journalism (UPF), Graduate in Contemporary History (UB), Master in Business Communication Specialization in Digital Technologies (UPF).

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