Salma Paralluelo, athlete and footballer

"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


June 2019.    Reading time: 3 minutes

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.

Find out more about Salma Paralluelo

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".