London 2012

Press release

Spanish pair aiming to add to nation’s sporting legacy

Pablo Herrera is going for a second Olympic medal to add to the silver he won in 2004, alongside Adrian Gavira

In football they are World and European champions, Rafael Nadal has won 11 tennis grand slams, while basketball player Pau Gasol and Moto GP rider Jorge Lorenzo are national heroes for their exploits around the globe.

Their men’s beach volleyball team of Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera are hoping to add their names to that roll of honour with success at the London 2012 Olympic Games and help propel Spain to win the hosting rights to another Olympic Games.

“The secret of our success goes back to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 when we started to put more money into sport,” Gavira said. “What we are seeing now is the result of that and now we are hopeful of Madrid winning the 2020 Olympics.”

Herrera is no stranger to the Olympics. He made his Olympic debut at Athens 2004, where alongside Javier Bosma he won a silver medal. Four years on at Beijing 2008 he paired up with Raul Mesa and reached the first knockout round.

He has played alongside Gavira since the start of 2009 and their best result so far has been a second place finish at the Marseille Grand Slam in their first year together. This year his season has been disrupted by a knee injury, which forced him to sit out the FIVB SWATCH World Tour for a month before the start of London 2012.

Even so he is confident that they relationship the pair have built up will give them a chance to add another medal to his 2004 silver at Horse Guard’s Parade.

“It is my third Olympics with a third different partner,” he said. “We are very comfortable with one another and he is very similar to me; very aggressive on the court.”

“If you don’t get on you can’t function as a team,” Gavira added, “and his experience of Olympic Games gives me confidence when I play.”

So far at London 2012 the Spaniards won their opening match against the Czech Republic’s Petr Benes and Premysl Kubala and then lost the second to defending champions Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser of the USA.

Even so they pushed the Americans hard and lost after three tight sets. They also had the support of the 15,000 fans at Horse Guard’s Parade as the match continued late into the London night.

“It is huge,” Herrera said of the stadium. “Against the USA all the stadium was cheering for us. You only get that sort of thing at the Olympics.”

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