Spanish croquet has something to celebrate. José Riva Gómez-Jordana, the 32-year old from Gijón, picked up the bronze medal at the world championships in New Zealand.
Croquet in Spain on the rise
Already Spanish and European champion, Riva is one of the top ranked players in the world, currently sitting in eighth position. Ahead of him lie two players from each of Australia, New Zealand and England as well as a South African. The Spaniard put all efforts towards coming away with the world crown but fell just short, going out to the then-holder of the title, and four time winner, Reg Bramford, the South African. Bramford lost the final to home favourite, Paddy Chapman.
Not withstanding some disappointment, this success is extraordinary and is a result of the interest and enthusiasm being shown by a small group of people in Spain who are willing to participate all over the world in a game that combines strategy, precision, patience and perseverance.
Nuestras felicitaciones al Español José Riva, quien logró la tercera plaza en el campeonato del mundo de croquet que se celebró aquí en NZ— Embajada España NZ (@EmbajadaEspNZ) 11 de febrero de 2018
Our congratulations to José Riva, third in the world Club Croquet championships here in NZhttps://t.co/2Qz8oV44ev
Last September, José Riva Gómez-Jordana, arrived in Norfolk, England to compete in 'The Eights Selection', a century-old competition where the eight best croquet players in the world play off against each other. On the back of his European title claimed the previous month, the Spaniard arrived in good spirits and kept up his form to pick up the trophy which is part of the President's Cup.
Want to know more about croquet's history?
Croquet is often seen as a hobby or pastime but is also a competitive sport and has a story that stretches back to the 12th and 13th centuries - included its influence on the modern game of snooker. It consists of hitting wooden or plastic balls with a large mallet through small metal arches, normally on a grass lawn. Read more about the game's history.
The sport took its place in the Olympic Games of 1900 in Paris. In Spain, the game's roots date back to the late 19th century in the region of Asturias and by the year 1926 there was an organised group in Gijón. The northern part of the country is where much of the activity is found although there are also clubs in the southern region of Andalucia.
In 1994 the Spanish Croquet Association (AEC) was founded which has over 700 affiliate members and 14 clubs.