23/05/2022   La Coruna (ESP): a 35-year history




The 35th edition of the Gran Premio Internacional de Marcha will be held on the avenues of the "Cantones" in Coruna on Saturday 28 May, which this year obtained the Gold Level of the World Race Walking Tour from World Athletics.
The "Cantones de la Coruna" were born in 1987 from a dream transformed into a perfectly successful organizational idea of ​​Sergio Vazquez, the previous lifelong president of the Galician Federation of Athletics. In that edition, the audience attended the joint arrival of three stars from the world race walk at the time who left it to chance to decide the victory, inspired by the friendship that bound them (and that has always binded the walkers of every continent). After 40:19 seconds of racing, at that time, the 10km race was being held, chance decreed that Maurizio Damilano would be the winner and that the squares of honor were reserved for his companions, Ernesto Canto and Bo Gustafsson.
Since then in the international race walk the word "Cantones" has become synonymous with "race walk" with a course that from the initial 2km was then reduced to the current 1km and with an intensity of participation that has no equal.
Sergio Vazquez was then succeeded by the current present of the Gallega de Atletismo Federation, Isidoro Hornillos Baz who continued in the work of his predecessor assisted by that local volcano that responds to the name of Dolores Rojas Suarez, who transformed from a "shop girl" over the years in "organizational fac totum", but which from the Cantones has breathed the air of this sport that has led it to become one of the most listened to international walking judges on the planet.
The writer was lucky enough to know this winning trio in 1993 and since then the love for this city has grown dramatically along with that of the personal friendship that binds me to Dolores and the two presidents.
When the President of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, decided to honor the "Cantones" as the world heritage of race walk, we were happy because the efforts of that handful of lovers of race walk had achieved the objectives that perhaps at the beginning they thought unattainable.
Last year together with President Isidoro Hornillos and friends Maurizio Damilano and Luis Saladie we went to visit Sergio Vazquez at his home in Fortinon near Sada to bring him the World Athletics plaque and he told us with passion that he would never believe that the idea of ​​the Cantones was so successful.
Going back with him through the historical phases, and those financial and organizational problems of the early years was a dive into the past full of memories, but also of satisfactions.
“Nadie es extranjero en La Coruña y siempre habrá a habitación para ti en el Hotel Riazor” these words have been for years the “leit motíf” of Sergio Vazquez which now after 35 years take on an even more precious meaning.
Thirty-five years spent intensely those of the Galician Federation of Athletics which together with the Municipality of La Coruna set for the Cantones as a milestone for the march in the world.
The moment of greatest glory began at dusk on Saturday 6 June 2015 when Liu Hong gave the whole world a solitary race from the first meter and with it a new world record in the women's 20km.
Today, after 35 years, what is expected probably should be an unforgettable race.
Registration with athletes from all over the world has already closed.
Come to La Coruna where “Nadie es extranjero” and enjoy this edition of the Cantones !!!
It will be the best way to say thanks to Sergio, Isidoro and Dolores and to the Municipality of this splendid city.