“It was a bittersweet feeling, I came first in the qualifying round with very difficult conditions at sea, very strong waves, very big and strong waves,” said Maria Martín-Granizo, recalling her participation in the competition.
Last Saturday, Lyonnais was crowned runner-up at the worlds, winning a silver medal at the World Para Surfing Championships in the United States. “The sea was very small and it was very windy,” the athlete said. The competition was held in Huntington Beach, California. “At Huntington the wave is usually powerful and tough, it’s the same at this competition,” the young woman indicated. And time hasn’t made it any easier for the young woman. Charlotte Banfield, the young English promise, was crowned ahead of Martin-Granizo, who caught a greater number of waves and scored more points in front of the jury. “I’ve competed with him on several occasions and it’s always been very close,” the runner-up said. Lyonnez spoke about her teammate’s win, saying, “The truth is I’m very happy for her, she’s a great surfer and she deserves it.”
The young woman, just 17 years old and a second-year high school student at the Divina Pastora School in Lyon, has several degrees. From a very young age, Maria found her passion in sports, creating a movement that is “committed to the true inclusion of people with disabilities,” said the runner-up. She considers herself ‘inclusive’ because, as she says, “I’m a person who fights for inclusion.”
Sports career full of success
Last year, she won the most important title of her career, being crowned world champion in 2022. But that’s not all, from previous years she had managed to rank third in 2021 and fourth in 2020. Furthermore, Leones is still the current European runner-up and Double Crown Spanish champion in 2021 and 2020.
Another title that stands out in his career is that of Spanish champion in adapted skiing, and in skiing he also achieved his best position, third place in the European Cup race last season 22/23. However, luck in the sport was not always on his side, as in his competition at the 2023 Para Ski World Cup, he fell and injured his ankle and knee.
Currently, he is part of the Young Promise Paralympic team of winter sports, and is also a member of the Spanish parasurfing team in the open team. In addition, the young athlete has become the first person with a disability to participate in RFEDI ski competitions in an inclusive manner alongside boys and girls without disabilities.
“The result is important but what is more important is that you give it your all”
At only eight years old he was already competing in the Cordillera Cup and Audi Quattro Cup circuits at regional and national levels, in addition to championships and cups for people with disabilities.
Maria Martín currently competes in the Stand3 classification, which includes surfers without a leg above the knee, and also those who are missing both legs, or who have severe mobility problems in both legs. They all surf standing up, with or without prosthetics “When you’re on the wave, you can only have two supports.
From my perspective, this is the most complex competition, it requires a lot of balance and autonomy, and without the knee, there are many maneuvers that become complicated,” the runner-up said about the terrain he faced in California. Said.
A sport to which he dedicates a large part of his life, “When I’m training surfing, I go to the sea for two hours in the morning, and in the afternoon it depends on the conditions, but I I also do it for two hours a day.” Of strength and mobility in the gym,” he assured, remembering all the hours he spent in his career.
The young woman, who is currently training in Austria with the Paralympic team of Young Promise of Winter Sports, aims to “lower the points in the disciplines of slalom, giant and super giant this season, in order to be able to compete next year “Possibly.” The World Cup and qualifying for the Milan 2026 Winter Paralympics without any problems,” Leonese explained. However, Martin-Granizo says, “what concerns her most is” continuing to include people with disabilities in all areas of life.