When it all began, they said to his family "When some passions are born, you have to let them fly. You cannot clip their wings". And since then, nobody has wanted to clip Adrián Aguilar's wings.
Adrián was seven years old when he was walking past the sports complex in Alhaurín de la Torre and his father, Juan, asked him and his older sister Carla if they wanted to sign up. They said they did. After two months on the waiting list, an extracurricular activity turned into a real passion for that young boy. That is how Adrián began to fly in the world of artistic skating.
He is 16 now and in the years since then he has been flying high. He has been to Portugal, Italy and France to compete in international championships but, without a doubt, one of the most special events is coming up very soon for this young skater.
In late June and early July Adrián won silver medals for solo dance and freestyle and that earned him a place in the European juvenile skating championships which are taking place on 2 September in Italy. Adrián becomes quite emotional when he talks about it: "It'll be my very first time in a European-level competition, I'm really excited," he says.
But... how did he get to this point? Well, he continued to practice locally for a few years and then transferred to El Tejar club in Fuengirola to train with Angélica Morales. He has now become the first of that club's skaters to classify for a European championship in freestyle.
"Our skater has performed competitively at the highest technical level with complete triples which have given him a pass to the European Championship," said the club in a statement.
On 6 August Adrián travelled to Italy and spent a week training, to perfect his spins, pirouettes and jumps. Scores for technique and artistic performance carry the same weight in this discipline.
"It isn't easy to combine everything you have learned in a year's training into two minutes of dance, including jumps, pirouettes and choreography. If you find a jump is difficult to do in training, you could be guaranteed to fall in the competition itself because of your nerves," says Adrián, talking about the difficulties involved in competitive skating. But then he points out the positive side of every championship: "There is always the satisfaction of knowing that, even though you might not have done everything well, you have put in a lot of hours of work and made a huge effort to get this far," he says.
Sowing the seeds every day
If Adrián Aguilar is now thinking about an international career it is because, after making a great deal of effort every day, he is starting to see the results. And it isn't just about him, because his whole family is thinking the same way. As their home is in Alhaurín de la Torre, Adrián makes the half-hour journey with his father every day to train in Fuengirola. "I train for about 12 hours a week, not counting the time I spend practising flexibility and strength," he says.
His mother, Carlota, and his father, Juan, are unable to hide their pride in their son. "He is a very responsible boy, and he is very clear about his plans," says his mother. "He is very self-critical. He always says well, I could have done that better," she says.
His father is also very supportive. In fact, Juan spends hours in the basement of their home making Adrián's skating costumes. The ones he wears to competitions have all been made by his father under the label 'Juan de Mancera'.
Discipline is needed to get anywhere in sport, and it also helps with other aspects such as the organising of Adrián's day-to-day life, and that is another plus in his routine.
Next year he will start studying his first year of the Baccalaureat and he is looking forward to doing social studies. "I don't really know what I want to do as a profession, but I am thinking about the law," he says.
He attends El Pinar school and appreciates the flexibility they grant him as a high-performance athlete. "If I have to go to a championship, they adapt my timetable so my studies are not interrupted," he says.
When asked about the challenges he faces in the world of artistic skating, he says his main challenge is to surpass himself. Although, if he has to raise his sights, he would like to make it to the top in terms of international recognition. "One clear objective would be to take part in a world championship, but we'll see in time," he says. When we point out that he is already taking part in a European competition and that is a step in the right direction, he laughs nervously.
It is very clear that Adrián's passion for skating is as strong as ever, and he hopes it will take him as far as it is possible to go.