January 28, 2009

Spain's Top-Ranked Male Gymnasts All Out With Injuries

A while ago, while checking some Federation sites for news, we found an update on Rafael Martínez on the Spanish Gymnastics Federation's website, detailing the 2005 European all-around champion's recovery from the shoulder surgery he had recently undergone. A few weeks later, we asked our Spanish reader Jordi to translate the article for us, which he kindly agreed to do. He did more than translate though. Not content with providing us with "old" news, Jordi contacted the Spanish Gymnastics Federation for the latest on Martínez. The Federation proved extremely helpful, providing news not just on Martínez, but on Gervasio Deferr and Isaac Botella, both of whom have also gone under the knife recently. It appears, then, that pretty much all of Spain's male stars are currently out of action. None of them is expected to attend this year's Europeans; their earliest possible international appearance is likely to be at the Mediterranean Games in June.

Many thanks to Jordi and the Spanish Gymnastics Federation for providing us with the following update!

Rafael Martínez in Beijing (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Rafael Martínez
Spain's most complete all-arounder of all time, aged 25 and 4th AA at the 2005 Worlds, saw his hopes of Olympic success dashed by a shoulder injury which prevented him from working to 100 per cent of his capacity. Despite his sore shoulder, Rafael Martínez finished 10th in the all-around competition in Beijing, scoring the second-highest score on high bar (15.575). He missed qualification for the floor final (his specialty) by a mere 0.05 points. On October 27, Rafael Martínez underwent surgery to treat the os acromiale and acromioclavicular arthropathy in his left shoulder. He was fully discharged on January 19 and is now working on shoulder rehabilitation and conditioning exercises with physical therapists. He can already do supports and some handstands, and will start training on the apparatus within a month.

View Rafael Martínez on floor at the 2007 Worlds here.

Gervasio Deferr in Beijing (photo: Amy Sancetta/AP Photo)

Gervasio Deferr
Two-time Olympic vault champion and Olympic silver medalist on floor Gervasio Deferr (aged 28) had to withdraw from the World Cup Final due to a neck injury. He is still suffering some discomfort in his neck, but is expected to be back in training in a month's time.

Watch Gervasio Deferr's silver-winning floor exercise at the 2008 Olympics here.

Isaac Botella in Beijing (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Isaac Botella
More recently, Isaac Botella (aged 24) was successfully operated on a tendon in his biceps and a partial tear in his rotator cuffs. The gymnast from Elche (Alicante), who had endured problems with his right shoulder for months, waited until the end of the season and the World Cup Final in Madrid (where he won the bronze medal on vault) before finally going under the knife at the Cemtro clinic in Madrid on January 22. Botella must now stay with his arm immobilized in a sling for six weeks. What happens afterward will depend on how quickly he recovers. Botella has been discharged from the hospital and is currently at home. He hopes to resume training as soon as possible.

Check out Isaac Botella's vaults at the Glasgow Grand Prix here.


  1. And the year just keeps getting more depressing. At least Flamenogo's not closing their gymnastics program completely. That makes thing slightly less painful for my already shattered hopes.

    Okay, that was a little too dramatic.

  2. We know what you mean. One of us was considering attending this year's European Championships, but the more we hear about injuries, the less likely that plan is becoming.