Icon of Spanish handball passes away
Former President of the Royal Spanish Handball Federation (RFEBM), former head coach of the Spain national team and top Spanish clubs, and professor at the Faculty of Physical Activity Sciences and Sports (INEF) in Madrid and at the National School of Coaches, Juan de Dios Román, has passed away.
RFEBM said: “The news have completely shocked the handball family and the sport in Spain, and that plunges us into the most absolute sadness due to his relevance throughout the history of our sport.
“He dedicated his entire life to handball, a sport that he cared for in body and soul for half a century, being a fundamental part of its development and subsequent success in Spain.
“It is very difficult to find the words to the loss of this key, unique figure in the history of Spanish handball.”
Román began his coaching career at the Colegio Jesuita de Chamartín in the mid-1960s, going on to lead Atletico Madrid in two different stages (1971-1985, 1990-1992) and Ciudad Real (2002-2005), with whom he won several national and international titles.
With Román in charge, Spain won the first medals in history: Olympic bronze medals in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, EHF EURO silver medals in 1996 and 1998, and EURO bronze in 2000.
After four decades coaching, Román was elected President of the Royal Spanish Handball Federation in December 2008. While he was President, the World Championship 2013 was organised – the first to be held in Spain. Román was also there for the beginning of the ‘Guerreras’, starting with the World Championship bronze medal in 2011 and the Olympic bronze in 2012.
Simultaneously, he maintained a role teaching handball at the INEF in Madrid and was professor at the National School of Coaches of the RFEBM, taking part in many courses and conferences. He was most comfortable in the didactic field, as he himself said: “I have been a better teacher than a coach.”
Román has received the Gold and Shiny Badge of the RFEBM, the Gold Medal of the Royal Order of Sports Merit, the Francisco Fernández Ochoa Award in the National Sports Awards 2017 and the Mérida Beloved Son Award, among others.
The EHF joins Francisco V. Blázquez, President of the Royal Spanish Handball Federation, as well as its Board of Directors and the staff of the federation, in mourning the loss and offering their deepest condolences to Román’s family and friends at this difficult time.