My personal and professional life
I was born on 16 April 1968 in Dierdorf, Germany, where I lived until I was nine. My parents then decided to move back to Spain and relocate in Caceres, Extremadura – a city in the west of the country.
One year before, in Nuremberg – a city three hours away from Dierdorf – I had decided to first try archery as a hobby, as my father had been a big fan of the sport since he was young. During my childhood, I practised many different sports, like football, athletics, swimming and handball, but it was archery that I enjoyed the most.
Early years in archery
After we moved to Spain, I started to take archery seriously and, under my father’s supervision, I trained three or four days each week. I combined archery with other sports I liked and, when I was 16, I met my second coach – and now good friend – Antonio BUSTAMANTE.
At 18 years old, after numerous attempts by my mother in contact with the RFETA and
the CSD, I was awarded a scholarship by the CSD to train at the Joaquin Blume residence in Madrid – now CARID
I was the first archer in the country to win such a scholarship from a high performance sports centre.
During those years in centre, where I was surrounded by the best athletes in Spain, I learnt and I adapted myself to elite competition, and to the discipline and efforts required to reach excellence, no matter the sport.
At the Blume residence, I also had the fortune to meet and work with Eduardo JIMENEZ, the man who became my
next coach and who turned me into a thought-minded athlete.
I started to work with Eduardo in 1987 and he helped me to improve my physical and event preparation for world-class competition.
Together, we were pioneers in different phases of archery. We introduced a way of mental training, mental approach, planning, and understanding of the values and the methodology behind the sport, as well as working on advanced biomechanics to improve my technique.
They were years of innovation and new learning in archery.
When I was 20 years old, I qualified for the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, where I finished 52nd. Ever since, my life has revolved around archery – first as an athlete (1989–1996), and later as a professional coach (1996–2002).
During this period of my life, I was privileged to be part of the 1992 and the 1996 Olympic Sport Association Plan, and to be part of the Spanish squad – for a second consecutive Olympiad – at Barcelona 1992.
Throughout these years, I won several national and international competitions, established new national records and was an active member of the Spanish archery team from 1988 to 1997.
I became an Olympic Champion at Barcelona 1992
My teammates Antonio VASQUEZ, Alfonso MENENDEZ and I fought hard for Spain’s greatest achievement to date in archery: Olympic gold in the recurve men’s team competition.
This medal was the result of a process that started with Soviet coach Victor SIDORUK – hired by RFETA as head coach of the Spanish archery team in 1990. He was my fourth coach, but I also had the honour to be guided and educated by my good friend Mariano ESPINOSA, and my physical trainer Javier CASTEJON.
In November 1992, Victor SIDORUK left our team and our country to move to Italy, where he became head coach of the Italian archery team. After he left, I didn’t have a coach until in 1994, when RFETA hired the USA’s Sheri RHODES. One year later, she was replaced by Dane Henrik BRANDT.
Through these years as an athlete, I combined my training with university studies as a Bachelor of Physical Education and Sports, which I graduated from at INEF Madrid in 2000.
I also created the University Archery School at the Autonomous University of Madrid, and later, I directed the Archery School at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. It was there where I started to work with my first mentor in the world of sports, a great professional and friend, Vicente MARTINEZ.
As Spain didn’t qualify a team for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta – although my teammate Antonio VASQUEZ did compete individually – I started to work as a coach at RFETA. I was responsible for the preparation of the scholarship students from the Blume-CAR of Madrid and the national team, and I also assisted Antonio as his personal coach.
Since I started coaching, I have had the privilege to work with psychologist Pablo DEL RIO (CSD) and many archers, among whom I highlight Almudena GALLARDO for her worth as a person and as an athlete.
My teammate at Barcelona 1992 Antonio VAZQUEZ and colleague Marcos GALLARDO also contributed greatly to the results of my coaching work during those days.
In 1996, I also became a member of the technical team of Hoyt USA and Easton, where I remained as an advisor until 2004.
In 1999, Mr James EASTON – former President of World Archery and a good friend of mine whom I have always admired – suggested that I apply for the position of the Coaching Committee President in the International Archery Federation, World Archery (then FITA).
I was elected in September of that year in Riom, France and, ever since, I have delivered seminars all around the world as an archery expert, as well as contributing to Olympic Solidarity programmes. Shortly afterwards, I was also appointed President of the FISU Technical Commission to guide the development of archery within the international federation for university sports.
In 1999, I also accepted the proposal of my friend Rick MCKINNEY to edit the Spanish version of Archery Focus magazine, of which Rick was the managing editor. Archery Focus remained on the market until 2004, and helped to promote archery and teach good technique in Spanish-speaking countries around the world.
In 2000, I was part of the organizing committee of the World Archery University Championships. The event was organised
by the President of the Madrid Archery Federation Vicente MARTINEZ, who I call my “sport father”. The championships were very successful and they were my first experience in sport management.
At the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games, I coached Almudena GALLARDO. This was one of my last experiences as a coach at RFETA, as my work there finished in 2001.
During this time, I also assisted the Spanish Para Archery Federation with coaching its athletes. Soon after becoming involved, I was elected as President and person technically responsible for that federation’s archery commission. I was, meanwhile, acting as Technical Director for the Madrid Archery Federation.
Early in 2002, I moved to Lausanne, Switzerland to work with the International Archery Federation – World Archery – on different development projects. By 2003, Mr James EASTON had asked me to assist at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.
The Athens 2004 organising committee hired me as a Technical Operations Manager. I moved there until October of 2004, and those Games changed my life completely. I went from a professional in sport development and sport performance to a professional in event organisation.
In 2003, I also acted – for few weeks – as Director of the World Archery Para Competition that was held in Madrid and headed by Vicente MARTINEZ.
During the year and a half I was in Greece, I was an important part of the organisation of archery at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The success of the Games led to World Archery encouraging me to apply for the new World Archery Events Manager position. In 2004, out of 20 candidates, I was hired.
In February of 2005, one of my dreams became reality: The Madrid Archery Technique Centre, directed by the Madrid Archery Federation and its President Vicente MARTINEZ, was inaugurated.
I worked with the Madrid Federation as its Technical Director until 2006. At that time, the Centre became fully functional and my help was no longer necessary. This Centre had been one of my biggest dreams for archery in Spain. I will always be thankful to my friend Vicente, the different institutions and all the people that made it possible.
In the summer of 2005, there was a change at World Archery: Prof Dr Ugur ERDENER, from Turkey, was elected its new President.
Prof Dr Erdener asked me to start a World Cup project to raise the level of archery’s world-class events. Under the direction of my friend and new boss at World Archery, Tom DIELEN, I started my job as Events Manager.
After many hours of hard work, I had the honour to develop, coordinate and drive the launch of the Archery World Cup, which has since emerged as the most recognised archery competition around the world. This event has changed the image of our sport at all levels, and it keeps growing with every season.
For the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics, I was elected as Technical Delegate and again was able to contribute to the success of archery competitions at both Games. Later, I was also given this position for Rio 2016.
In January of 2015, I finished my work as Events Director of World Archery to assume a new role as the Olympic Games Development Projects & World Archery Excellence Centre Director.
To date, I have coached more than 140 archers and participated or organised more than 120 seminars around the world, including different regions of Spain and countries such as Thailand, Korea and China in Asia; Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Chile, USA, México, Ecuador, Cuba, Argentina and Brazil in the Americas; and Great Britain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Albania, Switzerland and France in Europe.
I still help archers of different levels and I organise archery activities to promote the sport in my free time. I contribute to coaching seminars, specialised magazines and books about archery from the best coaches in the world – always combining it with my work at World Archery.
My sport career has been full of projects and ideas that I have been able to start, develop and see to completion in order to help the improvement of archery. Many have been projects and ideas that have influenced archery at all levels.
I feel proud to remember some of them:
• Sydney 2000 Plan: Innovative archery project in Spain that was orientated to detect and motivate young archers with regional, local and national funding. Today, 15 years later, the RFETA and the CSD are still using the basis of the project for similar applications.
• Creation of the University Archery Schools in both the Autonomous and Polytechnic Universities in Madrid.
• The Academic Round for university events and the “Hit-Miss” target, which is still in use.
• The Mixed Team, which became part of World Archery events in 2006, after it was introduced by FISU in 2000 under my initiative. It is still under approval for the IOC for the 2020 Olympic Games.
• The concept of the World Cup Final using historical or iconic places venues from the cities (Mayapan ruins, Eiffel Tower, Copenhagen Canal, Souk in Dubai, etc)
• The Archery Fan Reporter that asks university students to produced video clips to be published on YouTube.
• Contribution to the archery set system.
• The Event Tool Box – which is a combination of software, hardware and manuals to organise easily and with few people, archery events.
I believe I am a lucky person. I have been lucky to work on what I love, on what I’m passionate for, on my sport. I’m glad I can give back to archery everything I have taken from it, in both professional and personal ways, to make the sport better in any way I can.