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Gymnastics Career
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 Alba during the 1993 Nationals Presentation Ceremony
    Alba Caride-Costas was born in Vigo (Pontevedra) May the 24th 1980. Soon, she and her family moved to Valladolid. She started to practise rhythmic gymnastics  in 1986, when she was 6 years old,  at the Club Vallisoletano with Sonia Conde as her coach.
        Her first national medal arrived seven years later, when she was 13. It happened at Spanish Junior Nationals "B" in Valencia, she finished third on Juniors behind María Almela and Nuria Val-Llovera. 
        One year later, in 1994, she was selected by Catherine Xaudaró and Consuelo Burgos for the Spanish Junior Group. She and her team-mates (Nuria Cabanillas, Laura Solano, María Isabel García, Patricia Simón, Mónica González, Esmeralda Montaner and Vanessa Navarro) competed at the European Championships in Thesalónica (Greece) and finished 5th AA and 5th at the 6 hoops final.
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The 1994 Spanish Junior Group (Alba is the second from the left)
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    At Junior Nationals "A" in Valladolid she placed third behind Esther Domínguez Zurita and Almudena Cid Tostado.
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    Emilia Boneva became aware of her talent and selected her for the Spanish individual team in 1995. At her first Nationals on the Honour Category she tied 4th position All Around with Laura Solano behind Almudena Cid, Claudia Pérez and Nuria Cabanillas; but at the Events Finals she won three silvers in rope, ball and ribbon and a bronze in clubs. Three months later, she took part on her first World Championships in Vienna (Austria). She did very well, placing 5th with Almudena Cid on the Teams competition, qualifying to Atlanta Olympics; on the All Around she was 20th, this might look poor but it's fine because she was so young and completely unknown.
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    In May 1996, at the European Championships in Asker (Norway), she finished 15th All Around and 5th with Almudena Cid at the Teams Competition. A week later she was second A.A. behind Almudena Cid at Nationals in Tenerife and also got silver medals in rope, ball, clubs and ribbon. At World Championships in Budapest (Hungary) she was 6th in ribbon.
    In August, the Olympic Games in Atlanta (U.S.A.) arrived. She did very well on preliminaries, qualifying 11th for the Semi-finals. We also saw her  watching the groups competition, cheering up on her Spanish teammates and feeling the emotion of the first Olympic gold for Spanish gymnastics. But the following day, in her semi-finals clubs routine, she missed a club and all was lost. I felt very bad when I saw her sad face. She also failed in ribbon (diverted throw) and in rope (it got snagged with the point of her foot in a split jump) but she said goodbye to the competition with an excellent and passionate ball routine making us feel that she deserved something more. She was 19th. Anyway, for Alba competing at the Olympic Games and qualifying for semi-finals was a great success.
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Esther-Alba-Almudena. Spanish Nationals 1997     In 1997, the first Official competition were the European Gymnastics Masters in Paris. She did very well although her scores were not high. The Spanish Team (Alba Caride, Almudena Cid, Elisabeth Valle, Diana Plaza, Jesús Carballo and Omar Cortés) didn't pass to Semifinals due to the artistic gymnasts' fails. In May, the European Championships took place in Patras (Greece), she didn't do well at all, because of her fail in the clubs routine and the small inaccuracies in the other routines, but was enough to get her best international result for the moment: 13th.  
    A week later, she was second behind Esther Domínguez at the Spanish Cup Final in Palencia. And in June she got a great success: she became Spanish Champion in Valladolid and got three gold medals (hoop, clubs and ribbon) and one bronze (rope) at the Events Finals. 
 
    In October she went to the World Championships in Berlin (Germany). She did well, placing 7th with Almudena Cid and Esther Domínguez at the Teams Competition and qualifying 15th for the Individual All Around, but an ankle injury made her to quit.
Alba in Berlin -- By L. Vigna
 
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    In 1998 she didn't participate at many competitions maybe because of the injury that she suffered in November 1997.
    In April, she made a good performance at the International Tournament of Portimao (POR), placing 5th All Around and getting the silver in hoop and ribbon and the bronze in clubs. At the International Tournament Corbeil-Essonnes (FRA) held in May she was not so lucky, placing as the third Spanish, behind Almudena Cid Tostado and Esther Domínguez.
     She also was the third Spanish behind Cid and Domínguez at the 1998 European Championships in Porto (POR), from 28th to 31st May, because the Spanish coach Ana Bautista decided that she would only compete in one event -ribbon- while Esther Domínguez would participate in three -rope, hoop and clubs- and Almudena Cid Tostado in four -rope, hoop, clubs and ribbon-. So she performed at the Teams Competition, scoring 9'708 and contributing with this for the 5th place of the Spanish Team. Logically, she didn't qualify for the Individual All Around; she had to watch bored the competition while the others were competing. This was a sad fact for me, because I think that she deserved to compete there and I feel very bad for her, her quality and talent are not well appreciated. But I hope -and know-  that she will superate this bad patch and will get again the post as a first team gymnast that never should she have lost.
 
     She lost her Spanish Champion Title on 28th June in Barcelona, placing second after Esther Domínguez. She also got silver medals at all the apparatus finals and five bronzes at the Open Tournament (Results here).

    After a disappointing 1998, Alba has came back to competition in 1999 with a lot of strenght, winning her second meet of the season, the International Tournament of Portimao (POR). She also got gold medals in rope and the Teams Competition and silver in hoop, ball and ribbon. Her new routines are very elegant and dramatic.
    At National Championships in Leganés she placed third All Around behind Domínguez and Cid Tostado because of the small fails in rope and ribbon and the questionable judging. She was Silver in ball and Bronze in rope, hoop and ribbon (Full Results).
 

    On September the 28th, Osaka World Championships arrived. She was quite unlucky at the qualifying round, with a  disastrous ball routine (9'100) and a weak rope one (9'550) but she did well with the hoop (9'750) and finished with an excellent ribbon routine that impressed Japanese crowd (9'775). The most important is that she contributed (with Almudena Cid Tostado and Esther Domínguez) for the Spaniards' 2 visas for Sydney Olympics and for the 5th place at Team Finals (performing ball and ribbon). She qualified 26th, but didn't pass to the Final because Almudena and Esther superated her. Being the third Spaniard behind Almudena and Esther was a handicap for her and was reflected on her placement because gymnasts who were technically and artistically worse than Alba were above her. During Finals days she stayed with the Spanish fans (mostly gymnasts' relatives, including her parents and her brother) cheering up on her teammates and waving an Spanish flag.
Alba during Team Finals
    After Worlds, she has a week off and will come back to trainings in Madrid on the 18th of October.

    She would like to compete in Sydney 2000, I wish that this  will come true. She deserves it!. It seems that Esther Domínguez and Almudena Cid Tostado are now over her but maybe she will suprise everybody proving that she is the best.  

GO ALBA!

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