Melissa Vooren, a former member of La Carihuela Rowing Club, has received recognition from Torremolinos town hall for completing the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge in January.
This is one of the toughest rowing races in the world. Every year, international teams, from four-person crews to solo rowers, face the challenge of crossing the Atlantic. The competitors have to row 3,000 miles from San Sebastián de la Gomera on the Canary Islands to Nelson's Dockyard in Antigua and Barbuda.
Melissa Vooren, who was congratulated by Torremolinos councillor José Piña last Friday, was born and raised in Purmerend, the Netherlands. In November 2016 she decided to settle permanently on the Costa del Sol.
Last December, after long preparation for this mental and physical challenge, she took part in the competition by joining the Atlantic Dutchesses team in the boat Queen of Hearts.
Together with three other Dutch colleagues, Melissa rowed day and night, sleeping only two hours in shifts at sea. It took 43 days, 4 hours and 56 minutes to complete the ocean crossing of a total of 3,000 miles without any support boats. They became the first female team to complete this gruelling competition.
Melissa's adventure has been described by the Torremolinos town hall as «one of the most outstanding sporting feats of the last 50 years in the municipality».
José Piña said that her achievement will encourage local clubs to open borders, collaborate with other centres and undertake similar ventures.
During the meeting with Melissa the councillor pointed out, «Without any doubt this athlete's achievement is one of those that will go down in history.»
This year, 21 international teams from South Africa, the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom, among others, not only participated in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, but also gathered donations for various charities.
During the crossing, 70-year-old Frank Rothwell raised £1 million for Alzheimer's Research UK and Melissa Vooren's team managed to collect more than 20,000 euros for health research - the study of cardiac pathologies that especially affect women.