Sonia Cea: “We want Madrid to be the world capital of sports”

Q. What is sport for Madrid?

A. I think it is the great driving force of the city. For me, sport is health and it is also happiness. It is the way to have an active city, with all the positive things that attracts. We try to work as I believe it should be worked, from the base to the elite, and we always want that in our strategy and in our sports management, grassroots sport goes hand in hand with great sport that in the end serves to spread international of the city, from the thousands of matches that we have every weekend in the city hall facilities to the elite with the great events that we bring. When the door of collaboration with MARCA opened for the realization of La Noche del Deporte, I think we saw it clearly. In the end we both work on the same philosophy: that sport has to be present on the streets so that everyone can practice it. The spirit of this Night is that sport is a great party and that everyone who wants to can enjoy playing, which is the most beautiful thing in life.

P. Anyone who wants… and anyone who finds it. Because the location is also something to take into account.

A. Yes, yes, you know that the nucleus, so to speak, is going to be in Plaza de Colón, but then we are also going to have very nice surprises, throughout the night, in the Puerta de Alcalá and in the Plaza de Oriente. Our goal for the coming years is to increase these enclaves so that there are Madrid residents who go directly to the square, but also others who are enjoying these great July nights and encounter sports.

Q. And with a prologue in the form of a giant screen…

A. Indeed. It was a citizen request. Well, more of a cry than a request. We were receiving requests from neighbors who wanted to see the team, and then at six in the afternoon we started with a giant screen that we are going to put in the Plaza de Felipe II to cheer on Spain. I think that going to the semi-final and then being able to enjoy it with you at night would be a perfect culmination of this day.

Q. The week began with the presentation of the Sports City, whose works are already beginning…

A. It is the great commitment to sports in Madrid. As you already know, there are more than 265,000 square meters, of which 65,000 are directly for the use of the residents, with that eight-lane athletics track, with a covered track for warm-ups, with paddle tennis courts, two soccer fields, 11 7-a-side soccer fields, four covered courts… And we are going to achieve until Madrid has a beach, with that great wave project. I think it will be a very sporting enclave and also very fun and open, especially so that all Madrid residents can enjoy sports and to give support to the clubs in the area that do so much good.

Q. It is also a project with Atlético. What does it mean for the city to have two references like Real Madrid and the rojiblanco club?

A. I think it is key, because, as I always say, they are great promoters of an image of the city in the world with values ​​as positive as those that the two clubs work on and those that the world of sports works on. The truth is that we are delighted to have them at home and that all this sports strategy that we do in Madrid is also promoted by Madrid, Atleti and our Rayito, who is doing very well.

Q. At city council meetings, is there a lot of rivalry with the mayor?

A. Well, let’s see, the fact that the mayor is very athletic is no secret, and that I am a very Madrid fan, either. And well, when we don’t talk about football, things go very well in general…

We want Sports Night to be a great party… and a reference on the calendar

P. F1, NFL, championships… Madrid is becoming a universal sports showcase.

A. Yes, we want Madrid to be the world capital of sports and we believe that the formula is that: encourage, help and support grassroots sports in Madrid a lot, ensure that no Madrid resident who wants to play sports is left out, because we are also doing a very ambitious program for the renovation and maintenance of the facilities in the city, but then attract high-impact and high-level events to sell this great city to the world. We are lucky that, just as a few years ago Madrid had to knock on the door for these events to come, now we are in a moment in which they are the ones who call the city because they want to get to know us, they want to sit with us. and they want to see what we can do. I think we are in a great moment, both for the city and for the sport, and we have to enjoy it. I believe in hard work and continuous work, which is what we are doing in Madrid, both from the Community with our president and from the City Council with the mayor. It is a tandem that works very well for the development of the region and the city, and then in sports it manages to attract all these wonderful events.

Q. What sports does the councilor practice?

A. I really like football. When I was little I played, but now I can’t play as much because at the end of the day age doesn’t forgive anyone and my knees and quads are a little bad. Now I have changed those runs that I did for the band for a continuous career. We try to participate in all the tests that are carried out in Madrid and train daily, which is the best way to avoid injuries.

Q. It’s nice that girls can now have feminine sports references…

A. The moment that women’s soccer is experiencing is incredible, although I don’t like to call it women’s soccer, or women’s sport, because I think it is soccer with all the letters and sport with all the letters. And many times when we use the adjective feminine we are making that discrimination that I don’t like either. But, in answer to the question, I think it is very nice that it is beginning to have that recognition that it so needed and that the girls actually also have references like Alexia Putellas or Jennifer Hermoso. That when you want to buy a t-shirt it doesn’t always have to be a boy’s, but you also dream of being like them. I think that is a very important advance. We in Madrid have a gala focused directly on women’s sports, because we are aware of the need to highlight these references and, above all, to applaud them. All municipalities in Spain have a critical age that is 12 years or older, when almost 70% of girls abandon sport. They do it for different reasons, but one of them is the lack of references. So we have to continue supporting. The support that you are giving from MARCA to all that so-called women’s sport is also wonderful, but we must continue because, as we said before, sport is health and it is life. If it is the girls’ dream, they obviously have to enjoy it and we have to support it.

Q. Returning to Sports Night, how do you imagine it?

A. We want it to be a great sports night and a great party. When Madrid had that Olympic dream, we saw the city’s desire to vibrate with sport, to enjoy it. So the only thing I hope is that it is a party with sport as the protagonist and that the people of Madrid are left wanting more, because surely next year we will return. The idea is for it to be a reference on our calendar.

Q. Even new sports appear…

A. Yes, the pickleball thing is crazy. We in Madrid are starting to introduce it. We have several courts and this year I have had to play a game. The only thing I can say is that it is super addictive and that it is one of the ones that I recommend on this Sports Night so that people from Madrid can try it, because I am sure they will like it. It also allows people to play from very young people to older people or people who may have some degree of disability. It is an integrative sport and above all very beautiful. It’s going to be a night with lots of light and a lot of desire to have a good time, which is what I believe is the magic of this very particular way that we Madrid residents have of living life today. If the Spanish team has also qualified, imagine the party…


Davide Piano

An experienced journalist with an insatiable curiosity for global affairs on newshubpro

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