The Galician, who died this Sunday as a result of a brain tumor, was one of the references of the Spanish fund between the late eighties and the beginning of the current century
Galician sport mourns one of its greatest legends. Alejandro Gomez Cabral (Vigo, 1967) died this Sunday from a brain tumor. The ex-athlete himself had communicated the seriousness of it last June, making his situation visible and facing the terminal nature of it with dignity.
In these months, the Galgo de Zamáns was able to marry and enjoy the marriage with the also ex-athlete Paula Hernandez, as well as the affection of the whole society. Doctors gave him a reduced life expectancy last summer and even the runner himself was surprised to see how “cancer had stopped” in September, but the impact of the news has not been less. Because Alejandro was a benchmark for thousands of people from Vigo and athletes.
Almost four Olympics on his legs
Gomez Cabral was an old-school long-distance runner, across specialist, and with a constant progression in track and road racing. In the Cross Country, he achieved his ceiling with an individual silver and team gold in the 1995 European Championship, as well as a team bronze in the 1989 World Cup. The mud was his territory and in it, he would achieve numerous national titles.
The jump to the tartan and the asphalt was not complicated. He was already present in Seoul 1988 in the 5,000 test and in the great Barcelona 1992 party in the 10,000 meters. In the mythical distance of 42,195 meters, he would run in Atlanta 96, even being the national record holder of the distance in 1997 with 2:07:54 in Rotterdam.
In the new millennium, a truck would cut short his chances of attending his fourth Olympic Games in Sydney 2000, an unbeatable mark in Galician athletics. He would also resist the medal in a great international event, being 5th and 6th in the Marathon of the European Championships in Budapest 1998 and Munich 2002. In the last decade, he founded his own athletics club with friends and colleagues, dedicating himself mainly to dog racing, also known as canicross.
Deserved recognition in life
Despite the terminal nature of his illness, on July 11 he received unanimous recognition from the city and sports in an emotional act. In it, he received the Gold Badge of the Galician federation, in addition to receiving messages of support from Sebastian Coe, Alejandro Blanco, or Ruth Beitia. Days later, Mayor Abel Caballero himself presented him with the Vigués Distinguido 2020 that the Council granted him. The conditions of the pandemic prevented these recognitions from reaching the place where it made us all the happiest: in an athletics competition.
He himself admitted with surprise that “he did not know that people loved him so much .” Gomez Cabral was part of a unique generation and from Castrelos Park he achieved the highest sporting heights of a Galician athlete. Vigo, Galician sports, and national athletics cry for him. A myth born in a Vigo parish.
The world of sports, in mourning
There have been many expressions of affection and pain at the news, which has shocked the world of sports in the same way as the announcement of the disease in June. The Royal Spanish Athletics Federation assured that “he fought to the end, in the mud and in life”, while its president Raúl Chapado was sincere: “What a pain in the chest, what a stab in the soul, what a feeling of not understanding nothing in this life. “
Luchar hasta el final. En el barro y en la vida.
Tu legado deportivo formará parte de nuestra historia para siempre. Tu legado personal ha sido una lección y una inspiración.
DEP, Alejandro Gómez.
Nuestro más sincero pésame a sus familiares y allegados pic.twitter.com/9fTVjtrx7x
— atletismoRFEA (@atletismoRFEA) January 31, 2021
Different political positions also added to the admiration of the athlete from Vigo, as recognized by the president of the Xunta, Alberto Núñez Feijoo. The general secretary of the PSdG, Gonzalo Caballero, recalling a “career that makes Galicia proud”; the Deputation of Pontevedra, the Department of Sports of A Coruña or even that of Madrid joined the thousands of messages that made it a national Trending Topic.
Beyond his impeccable track record in athletics, where he became the second athlete with the most participation in the cross-world championship, other sports also paid tribute to him. The RC Celta showed his duel with the Royal Galician Football Federation, who recalled his work as a trainer in various clubs in the area of Vigo.