Ten Paralympic athletes will be able to continue their university studies in the 2022/2023 academic year thanks to the ‘Fundación Iberdrola España Scholarships’, which were awarded this Wednesday in Madrid. They are the swimmers Sarai Gascón, Óscar Salguero, José Antonio Marí, and Alejandro Rojas; the athletes Desirée Vila, Iván Cano, Alba García, and Nagore Folgado, the wheelchair tennis player Martín de la Puente and the judoka Marta Arce.

The award ceremony, held in the Samaranch Hall of the Consejo Superior de Deportes, was attended by the president of Fundación Iberdrola España, Fernando García, and the head of the Training Area, Teresa Rodríguez, as well as the president and director of the Spanish Paralympic Committee, Miguel Carballeda and Alberto Jofre, respectively. The athletes Sarai Gascón, Óscar Salguero, Marta Arce, Desirée Vila, and José Antonio Marí also participated in person, and Alejandro Rojas telematically.

During his speech, Fernando García said that “for Iberdrola and the Foundation it is very important to support these athletes, we know, and we are aware that this is only a drop of water, but drop by drop we will make an ocean, which is our goal. At Fundación Iberdrola España we believe that education, training, and work are the basis for achieving all these goals that we face every day.”

For his part, Miguel Carballeda stressed that “for the Spanish Paralympic Committee it is always a concern” the labor insertion of athletes after their retirement. Although the main objective is “to achieve the best for our athletes so that they can achieve the best for our country,” it is necessary to “think a little bit further.” “The athlete’s career is short and there is a life afterward that has to be developed in the best conditions”.  “In this concern, we find the best traveling companion, the Iberdrola Spain Foundation, which works hard for and with people,” he explained.

“The Iberdrola brand has changed the fate of sport in this country” and “commits to the training of Paralympic athletes that is exemplary,” he concluded.

Óscar Salguero spoke on behalf of the scholarship winners and thanked Fundación Iberdrola España on behalf of all the beneficiaries of this year’s edition. He explained that combining studies with high-level sports requires a lot of “effort, perseverance, sacrifice, and dedication”.  “Thanks to you, this path has been made easier for us,” he said.  “Since I started my career, I have been very aware of the importance of good preparation to ensure a future after sport. I have received the scholarship from the beginning, and it has helped me a lot to achieve my great dream, my great illusion, which is to be a great doctor,” he acknowledged.

As agreed by the monitoring committee of the collaboration agreement between the two entities, this year five athletes will receive the full scholarship, while another five will share the amount. Thus, the beneficiaries of the ‘Becas Fundación Iberdrola España Scholarships’ 2022-2023 in the amount of 5,000 euros are:

  • Martín de la Puente. Wheelchair tennis player from Vigo, winner in 2022 of the US Open and the Masters Tournament in doubles. Awarded a scholarship to continue his studies for a degree in Business Administration and Management at the Universidad Oberta de Cataluña.
  • Sarai Gascón. Catalan swimmer with a physical disability, winner of five medals in the Madeira 2022 World Championship. Awarded a scholarship to pursue a degree in Primary Education at the Catholic University of Murcia.
  • Alejandro Rojas. Canarian swimmer with cerebral palsy, winner of a diploma at the Tokyo Games. Awarded a scholarship to pursue a degree in Primary Education at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canarias.
  • Oscar Salguero. Barcelona swimmer with a physical disability and runner-up in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2022 World Championships. Awarded a scholarship to pursue medical studies at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
  • Desirée Vila. Galician athlete with a physical disability, winner of two Paralympic diplomas at the Tokyo Games. Awarded a scholarship to continue her studies for a degree in International Relations at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid.

In addition, the following athletes will receive smaller scholarships:

  • Iván Cano. An athlete from Alicante with visual impairment, Paralympic runner-up at the Tokyo 2020 Games in the long jump. Granting a scholarship for 2,500 euros to study the Master’s Degree in Teacher Training of Compulsory Secondary Education, High School, Specialty Physics and Chemistry at the Catholic University of Murcia.
  • Nagore Folgado. Valencian an athlete with visual impairment, semifinalist in the 100 meters during the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Awarded a scholarship of 2,500 euros for her studies for the Psychology Degree at the University of Valencia.
  • Alba García. A visually impaired athlete from Madrid, double medalist at the European Championships in Poland 2021. Awarded a scholarship of 2,500 euros for her studies for her Physiotherapy Degree at the University of Alcalá de Henares.
  • Marta Arce. Visually impaired judoka, triple medalist in the Paralympic Games, and diploma in the Tokyo Games. Awarded a scholarship of 1,250 euros for her studies for the Degree in Social Education at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia.
  • José Antonio Marí. Valencian swimmer with a physical disability, triple Paralympic diploma at the Tokyo Games. Awarded a scholarship of 1,250 euros to continue his studies in Psychology at the Catholic University of Murcia.

The ‘Fundación Iberdrola España Scholarships’ are aimed at athletes who are beneficiaries of the ADOP Plan and are pursuing university or postgraduate studies, to facilitate their professional training with a view to their integration into the labor market, once their sporting life is over. The amount ranges between 5,000 and 1,250 euros, depending on the total number of credits enrolled in the academic year.

To be eligible for these grants, athletes must be beneficiaries of the ADOP Plan. Priority is given to those who have benefited from the scholarship in the previous academic year, as long as their average grade is equal to or higher than 5.5. In the case of equality of conditions between two candidates, preference is given to the one who is enrolled in the most advanced course and, ultimately, the one with the best academic record takes precedence.

Iberdrola, with Paralympic sport

The awarding of these scholarships by Fundación Iberdrola España adds to the company’s support for Paralympic sport, as it has sponsored the Spanish Paralympic Team through the ADOP Plan since its creation in 2005.

With these grants, Iberdrola contributes to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), integrated into its business strategy. Thanks to these grants, the company focuses its efforts on the fulfillment of goal number 10 (reducing inequalities) and goal number 4 (quality education).