The girl who fell in love with sport

She would not be able to picture herself without a basket standing in front of her and a ball in her hands. She spends the whole day bouncing it, shooting, passing – whatever she can think of, she will do it with those two companions beside her. Sonia Pereda is only 15, but she found out a long time ago that her passion was going to be related to one of those rounded objects. She tried football, but she bumped into the harsh reality: sadly, it is not a sport meant for girls, at least yet. However, this event pushed her towards basketball, which, in the end, would go on to become her beloved sport. Hers is a story of never-ending effort, but also of reward and joy.

Sonia, in action, during one of the hundreds of matches she has played throughout her life.

A morning in her life is not different to those of the people her age. But at the sound of the school bell, everything changes. She has to leave the classroom in a hurry and rush to the sports centre, where the first training of the afternoon will be awaiting. After two hours of tough exercise, she has just a few minutes to recover and, then, more bouncing, shooting and passing – the routine she loves. “Every time I play, I forget about everything else and I just focus on enjoying”, she says.

When she decided to enrol for the team, some six years ago, she just wanted to test whether she liked being part of a group. Instead, she soon fell hook, line and sinker for the sport – she was totally in love with what it meant and involved. All of a sudden, sooner than she could realize, she was attending training almost every day of the week and playing loads of matches.

Despite all the effort the sport requires, as she does not hesitate to admit, it has also provided her with wonderful experiences throughout the years. She has been part of the Spanish national team and travelled all over the country and she has met some of the best players, whom she wants to face as rivals in the near future. In fact, she has already made her debut with the first team, playing alongside professional basketballers. “I felt a mixture of nervousness and excitement”, she recalls about the first time she played with them. “When they told me to get out there and play, I could not believe it. It was special to see how all the fans were cheering for me. I will never ever forget that”.

With the Spanish national team jersey, the first time she played for it.

Her commitment – the bouncing, shooting and passing – does sometimes mean she cannot spend as much time with her friends, but, instead, she has made many others thanks to basketball. “I believe this is the best about sport”, she says. “I wouldn’t have met as many wonderful people as I have if it hadn’t been for the ball”.

Whether she will achieve what she works hard for remains to be seen, but, no doubt, it will always be possible to find her enjoying her passion with a smile on her face: bouncing, shooting and passing.