Fellowship of the rings

Mallorca certainly punches far above its weight. Hot on the heels of being named the world’s sixth best island, the home of tennis icon Rafael Nadal will be sending no less than nine athletes to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this summer.

With their tickets booked and three months to prepare are triathlete Mario Mola, swimmers Melanie Costa Schmid, Joan Lluis Pons and Marc Sanchez, basketball stars Alex Abrines and Rudy Fernandez, sprint hurdler Caridad Jerez, middle-distance runner David Bustos, and of course trophy biting veteran Rafael Nadal.

For some this will be their second Olympics, while others have missed out due to past injuries. Swimming prodigy Joan Lluis Pons was just eight years old when his fellow islander Nadal won gold in Beijing in 2008.

Qualification is not yet over and there are a further nine islanders who are still fighting for their plane tickets to Brazil and a chance for sporting glory.

Spain itself has seen remarkable sporting success across the worlds of golf, Formula 1, basketball and football. With an athletic Mallorcan contingent bred on a Mediterranean climate, the national team will fly to Rio full of confidence.

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