"Juggling football and athletics is complicated. I have thought about giving one up, but I am not willing to choose right now"

Sport Women Gender equality Interviews

Salma Paralluelo is equally committed to football and athletics. Last year she was proclaimed European and World champion with the sub-17 national football team, and is the youngest woman to have won a senior athletics medal. While she can juggle both sports, she will not give up either of them.

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Salma Paralluelo juggles football and athletics with year 4 of Compulsory Secondary Education.


Salma Paralluelo, footballer and athlete: "Juggling football and athletics is complicated. I did think about giving one of them up, because I've thought I have been performing better in one or in another, but in the end I always come to the same conclusion: that right now I am not willing to choose."

National Sub-17 players: "[Singing] World champions."

Salma Paralluelo: "We couldn't believe it, we were living the dream. Winning the European and World Cup [sub-17 football] in the same year was incredible. It was an experience I will never forget and it has had a huge impact on my life."

"When I won my first medal in the Spanish Senior Championships [athletics], I was absolutely thrilled, because I really hadn't expected to do as well as I did."

Presenter 1: "She's not even 16! Look at her go!"

Presenter 2: "This is something else!"

Félix Laguna, Salma's athletics trainer: "I used to tell everyone: 'This girl has talent, this girl has talent', and they used to say to me: 'Yeah, yeah, it's no big deal'."

Presenter 1: "Salma Paralluelo. No one should ever forget that name".

Félix Laguna: "And that's when everyone realised: 'Who is this 15-year-old girl who did this?'"

"It is hard to get her going when she comes from football as she turns up and her athletic tyres have run flat, and I have to pump them back up. When she has been playing a lot of football and not doing much athletics, it can be quite hard. She lacks strength, technique... But, starting from scratch, within a week she's up there again. That is why she is so talented, not just physically, she also has a strong mind."

Salma Paralluelo: "After football, what I try to do with my trainer is stand up straight and stretch out, as in football I am a lot more hunched down. I feel slumped, I still struggle to get my ankle technique right..."

"Luckily, I haven't had any serious injuries. It would be a real nuisance, but, without pushing myself too hard, and making sure my trainers understand how I am feeling and the effort I am able to make, it is possible to keep it under control."

Félix Laguna: "Yes, I am scared, I am scared. Athletes are very fragile. She is a thoroughbred and very fragile. So, she may not stand certain fouls that are too violent."

Salma Paralluelo: "Athletics also helps me with football as it helps me build my endurance, which I really notice when I'm on the pitch for 90 minutes."

Jaime Paralluelo, Salma's father: "You never know what the future might hold. At the moment she must study, and study some more; that is what is important. It is good that she does sport, very good".

Félix Laguna: "I don't care whether it is football or athletics. Or none of them. I want Salma's future to be full of happiness”.

Salma Paralluelo: "I know a lot of people have high expectations of me, but at the end of the day, I just want to go at my own pace and keep moving forward, bit by bit".