Archive for June, 2019
Arona En Colores Puts Las Galletas Streets Ahead

They really cast their nets wide in Las Galletas. The fishing village on the other side of Guaza mountain from Los Cristianos played host to tradition and technology, spectacle and sport, and music and monsters as they welcomed the annual Arona En Colores fiesta to the south of Tenerife.

Stages were popping up where the narrow street corners met, and by the large, modern, urban park, and all ages were catered for. Break dancing was the focal point of La Rambla, just behind the pebble beach promenade, just one part of youth expression that also included judo, art, and electronic sports in other streets. Tradition was looked after with a photo exhibition of the fishing history of the area, 21 bronze plaques embedded in the floor of Paseo de los Pescadores ensure the leading families of the trade are forever honoured.

For a rather uncomfortable view of the world there was a 180 degree tumble in a car, great to encourage traffic safety awareness and in car safety features, but best not tried after generous portions of tapas and beer. Live theatre stirred the emotions in a different way as The Lion King roared onto the biggest stage in town. Young children, and young at heart parents, were entranced by the familiar songs, but the nippers could have done with a slightly lower stage surround to see the action without a lift up from the adults. There was more musical influenced muscle stretching in the sports hall for a roller dancing competition. My last venture into the Pabellon Deportes was for a roller hockey match, this was more serene and attracted full tiered seating down the whole of one side of the hall.

Back in the criss cross hub of the pedestrian shopping area, my eye was caught by Lilies Garden Tearoom. There was an Alice In Wonderland theme going on, the famous book was written by an Oxford academic, and it took my mind back to my childhood. There was no need to gaze Through The Looking Glass to get the full effect of the scaley monster towering over me around the next corner. As the street wide inflatable bar football pitch, and bouncy castles pressed against the walls of another side turn, bigger boys were admiring rows of powerful motor bikes from classic names like Porsche, BMW, Harley, and many more.


Even seated outside the Marazul for a meal, there was plenty to watch. A magician, and a strong man couldn’t erase the smiles from their female partners, even when perpetrating dastardly deeds on them. And size really didn’t matter for a stunning performance. A petite young lady placed a pink rose at the edge of a coffee table sized stage she was stood on and then doubled up backwards to pick up the flower in her mouth. Puppets, and wheels of fortune were also enticing people to stop and interact with street performers.

As darkness crept in, music wafted through the air from all corners. The crowds were getting bigger as the night time crowd poured in to swell the walkways and the tills. No Tenerife fiesta would be complete without a carnaval troup of dancers, the white clad ladies obliged, sweeping through all the streets with an eager following of disciples. It was another big winner, and a great sampler for those who had not made the short trip to this vibrant and diverse area.

People To Remember And A Season To Forget

Goodbye, and in some cases good riddance were the sentiments as CD Tenerife ended their troubled season with a 1-0 home win over Real Zaragoza. A few players heard their names chanted by the 11,652 crowd, recognition of their efforts for the cause but others will feel the recriminations as they are cut loose as change rips through the club. The night was all about praising two departing defensive heroes, Raul Camara got a rare start, 35 years old and 174 Tenerife games down the line, his contract is not being renewed, the little tiger dug deep to sign off with his customary energy and hard tackling. Jorge Saenz oozed class as the local born 22 year old showed why Valencia were so eager to sign him for next season.

Big changes are needed, coach Sampedro in the last of his four game deal, gave league debuts to 24 year old goalie Angel Galvan, and 20 year old B team holding midfielder Javi Alonso from Adeje. Loaned out to lower league teams and then rooted to the bench as back up to Dani Hernandez, the keeper impressed with a triple save in the opening minutes. A deflection needed an agile push away, another touch repelled the returning ball, and a decisive high take was needed when Gual tried a shot through a crowd of players. Pombo tested Angel again with a blast that he held firmly. Zaragoza were also free of any lingering relegation worries so the tempo of the game wasn´t full on but it was still competitive.

Nano continued his poor form by missing a golden chance when Naranjo set him up, the shot went outside the post when it looked easier to score. Alonso looked comfortable just in front of the back four, it allowed Tenerife to build some good creative moves. Montañes was another home player eager to avoid the squad cut, he had a strong first half including a neat set up for Naranjo that was snuffed out by the goalie after a weak shot. Jorge could have crowned his farewell with a headed goal from a corner but the goalie reacted well. Tenerife had a penalty shout after Eguaras brought down Naranjo, at least the refusal was consistent with other visiting refs. Carlos Ruiz replaced Alberto after the break, an outstanding May earned the veteran another years contract. Tenerife desperately wanted to end the season with a win, Nano made it come true with a well headed goal from a Luis Milla cross before Zaragoza had settled for the second half. It was only the strikers third goal of the season, Malbasic and Naranjo had six each, big clues to he teams struggle this season.

The mature home defenders rolled back the years, Carlos Ruiz won a hard tackle and got in a half shot, Raul Camara did a great clear up and then went down after winning a crunching tackle. Although he got back up, the defender gave way to Luis Perez a few minutes later, his departure brought a crescendo of applause. Zaragoza went close to levelling as they pinged a shot off the post, it was soon followed by another diving save from Angel. Could Naranjo offer some argument to keep him for a second season, his sliced shot over the visitors bar gave a resounding no. As for Nano, he was subbed for Tyronne, both forwards look ripe for unloading. The game was winding down, Jorge got a big cheer when he blocked Gual, the player of the season gets better all the time, and many expect him to make the step up to the senior Spain squad in the next few seasons.

A Malbasic miss and Angel save, and the game was over. Raul and Jorge posed for photos with their team mates in front of the stand before running to the home stronghold behind the goal to receive the adoration and thanks of the fans. The special bond that exists between players that honour the shirt, and the fans, is strong. Luis Milla is the biggest remaining star at Tenerife, fighting off his many admirers this summer will be tough. Constant chants for the resignation of President Concepcion rained down during the match, but he shows no sign of stepping aside. The next coach has a big rebuilding job to do, the club have already moved quickly to add a 20 year old midfielder, Alex Bermejo, from Espanyol B team. The line up for next seasons opening game will be very different but the fans will be back with renewed passion and hope.

Arona Combined Events Reaches Out To The Olympics

As the world took a long run up the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Tenerife stole the spotlight by providing an early qualifier with Austrian heptathlete Verena Preiner recording the third best score of 2019 with 6,472 points, shaving 52 points off the entrance mark. Verena´s last event 800 metre victory was a fitting finale to the  Arona Combined Events weekend in Playa de Las Americas. With full recognition by athletics governing body,the IAAF, and meeting points counted to competitors rankings, it’s become a magnet for potential champions. For the latestedition it was even streamed world wide on You Tube.

Eleven countries were represented in the 10 event mens decathlon, and seven event womens heptathlon, with Brazil, Estonia, and for the first time the United States. The setting of the Estadio Antonio Dominguez showed Tenerife in its best light, and as always a large team of local volunteers backed up athletics coaches and administrators from Arona, to ensure all ran smoothly. I dipped into the Saturday and Sunday morning sessions, arriving as the mens long jump, and ladies high jump competed for attention, although the giant screen relayed all the action. In between warm ups, warm downs, and frantic bursts of on track action, I caught up with the USA trio, Curtis Beach, Dan Golubovic, and Teddi Maslowski. Curtis explained how they came to make their first visit to Tenerife.

“ We don’t get any meetings solely focussed on combined events back home, so as our coach from Duke University in North Carolina was away for June, it seemed a perfect time to try a different competition. I flew over via London, and Dan via Madrid, the organisers, especially Victor and Javier have been very welcoming and helpful so it’s made it easy for us to settle in. I arrived a few days ahead of the event and managed to see Mount Teide and some of the beaches. I’m from New Mexico so I felt quite at home in the dry heat. There was a little head wind for the 100 metres on the first day that slowed the times a little but we’ve been able to push ourselves ready for the USA Championships in July.”

It turned out to be a particularly good meeting for Dan who finished in fourth place after the two days, ending with a flourish after topping his group in the javelin on the Sunday evening. Teddi, from Pittsburgh, made light of a niggling injury to have a solid two days including a 5th place in the long jump.
“ We’ve come without a coach so are pushing each other, it gives us a different approach to usual but makes for a more relaxed attitude. I came over with a little fracture in my leg from a long jump in the States two weeks ago but I’m working though that, I even managed to tackle a camel ride during some exploring when I got here. It’s our first time here so it’s been good to see the beauty of the island, I visited a few places around the coast, like Los Gigantes.”
All competitors get three nights in the Zentral Hotel, just along from the stadium, but many have chosen to stay on for extra days elsewhere around the island to relax with family supporters.

Every year brings a good sized contingent from Great Britain and Ireland, this year there were seven, including Andrew Murphy from East Kilbride who took seventh place overall, the long jump gave him a big opening push on the Saturday morning. Scott Connal, a 19 year old from Edinburgh also made a big opening leap to propel him to third place in the Under 20 Decathlon. Other notable achievements from back home came in the long jump with a 6th place for GBs Jenna Blundell in her group, and top spot for Holly McArthur and 3rd for Anna McCauley in their javelin as well as long jump group. Hot weather training and competition works well for athletes but some take the reverse route, 19 year old Marissa Vaz of Portugal has been living and training in Sheffield.

The Arona Pruebas Combinado doesn’t just bring publicity to Tenerife, it also has a practical influence on local athletes. Between the main competiton events, clubs from Arona run their own youth events, giving the next generation a taste of bigger competitions and a chance to learn by seeing experienced performers in action. There’s a lot more than raw power to being a winner, technique counts for a lot, the javelin, and shot putt were good examples of that. As for the pole vault, the splattering of coloured markers to guide the leapers to their launch spots took almost slide rule precision. The sight of Manuel Dias clearing the bar with Roque del Conde in the background was a combination of strength and grace.

There was plenty of inspiration over the weekend, Norway’s Martin Roe was solid in all the disciplines to take the Mens Senior Decathlon, he also picked up a 250 euro bonus for his 8,037 points, ahead of Kristen Rosenberg of Estonia a good gap away in second with 7879 points. The Senior Heptathlon battle between Verena Preiner and Noor Vidts of Belgium, brought out the best in both of them and 3rd placed Vanessa Chefer of Brazil. Jorge Dani Lopez took the Decathlon Under 20 title, the Heptathlon Under 20 was a Spanish clean sweep for Nuria Menendez Sanchez, with Ivet Rovira Figueras in second, and Alba Ramirez Martin in third.

Looking forward to 2020, it’s not just the Olympic year, but also the 10th year of the Arona Combined Events. With the commitment shown by Arona Council, and the athletics community, it will be another weekend to look forward with relish.

CD Tenerife Crawl Over The Survival Line

Sighs of relief replaced the hoped for roars of victory as CD Tenerife shared a passive 0-0 draw at Lugo. After 70 minutes it looked grim as survival rivals Rayo Mahadahonda led 1-3 at Real Oviedo. That would have condemned shot shy Tenerife to a nerve shredding final game at home to Real Zaragoza with a win their only chance of staying in the Segunda Division. All the drama came at the other game as Oviedo fought back to win 4-3, mobiles and hand signals kept the anxious players in the loop at Lugo and confirmed their Houdini act.

As a game, the goal less draw exposed all the flaws that have haunted Tenerife all season, silly errors, no cohesion, and poor finishing. The passion of injured Captain Suso was sorely missed, the calming influence of Jorge was also absent due to suspension, and the undoubted midfield talent of Racic was left on the bench after a night club appearance on social media when he was out injured. Carlos Ruiz kept his place in the centre of defence and made a well timed clearance from a Viera raid in the opening minutes. Alberto showed his defensive qualities when he blocked his former Tenerife team mate Iriome

Isma Lopez was back in midfield, he added width on the Tenerife left and forced a save from the home goalie. Right back Luis Perez tried a lob shot from midfield but it fizzled out when it reached the keeper. Left back Hector Hernandez also had attacking thoughts and tested the goalie with a hanging cross. Lugo, also fighting relegation, came more into the game, after Alberto lost the ball, Herrera tried to tuck a shot inside Dani Hernandez but found him at his best. The away goalie was sharp again to deny a crisp shot from Lazo. The best Tenerife move of the game came from Malbasic, he easily beat Luis Ruiz in midfield and threaded his way past two defenders before unleashing a fierce shot that the home goalie tipped over the bar. Nano also had a half chance but slipped as he shaped up for a shot that went high of the target.

Lugo turned up the pressure, Luis Ruiz flashed a shot just wide of the Tenerife post. Naranjo tripped over his own feet just before the break, another reminder of his paltry six goal haul this season. The second half saw more tense moments as Carlos Ruiz tidied up another Lugo raid. Lazo conjured a home chance out of nothing but his cross cum shot went begging as team mates were too slow to add a touch into the net. Every minute that passed was another turn of the screw for both sides. Nano hit a soft shot at the home goalie before being subbed. It was a crucial moment, Mahadahonda’s had just taken a 1-3 lead and Tenerife needed to attack and go for a win. Coach Sampedro made the wrong switch, striker Coniglio has been even less inspiring than Nano and a midfielder or defender should have been going off. Coniglio is at least consistent, a good cross from the right picked him out but he didn´t even get near to putting it in the goal.

Milla wasted a short corner as the deficit was reduced at Oviedo. Montañes replaced Lopez, and Dani missed an easy high cross to make the nerves jangle a bit more. It´s difficult to criticise Dani, a few glaring errors have crept into the Venezuelan international number ones game but he has saved Tenerife so many times. A probing Lugo cross in the 84th minute was expertly cut out by Dani just before Racic took over from his fellow Serbian, Malbasic. Crowd excitement alerted the players to the equalising goal at Oviedo as both games went into injury time. Tenerife heard the final whistle first and agonising seconds later the last gasp Mahadahonda winner and full time seeped through. Even Hitchcock or Spielberg would have struggled to come up with anything so dramatic. The Tenerife players joy may be short lived, many seem to expect cosmetic summer tinkering to the squad, but a ruthless cull is needed, and there is no shortage of candidates for the exit door.