SPO 230609 WPL INTERVIEW  ARAMZAN 3-1686319496408
Marta Ortega during an interaction at the Coca Cola Arena in Dubai on Friday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Very few have managed to chase their passion and work hard to achieve it. It takes immense level of commitment to reach those heights, which some can only dream of. Now imagine pursuing a dual passion and ending up accomplishing both of them. Quite hard to comprehend right?

Marta Ortega Gallego is one of those rare prodigies who has managed to take her passion to greater heights. Other than making it big in the professional padel circuit, she has also excelled in the field of medicine to become a doctor.

“It’s been really tough,” the 26-year-old Spanish professional, currently in Dubai playing for the Tigers team in the World Padel League, told Gulf News at the Coco-Cola Arena.

Busy days

“It was busy days for me. 24 hours weren’t enough. I hardly had time to sleep. I had to spend like eight hours in the university, five in training and the rest to grab some sleep,” said Marta, who graduated with a degree in Medicine and trained as a doctor at the Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital.

Marta fell in love with padel when she was just 14 and two years later she made her debut in the World Padel Tour. In 2019, she became the youngest No 1 player in the World Padel Tour (WPT) history. Her determination to excel and extraordinary sportsmanship may have helped her pursue her other passion of becoming a doctor.

“I think it’s really important to study and equally important to have a sport in your life. It helps you meet new people and visit new countries. And when you get older, it’s going to be difficult to stay on the top of the sport and that’s when your education will help you lead a relaxed life,” she added.

read more

'Getting priorities right'

“Choosing medicine was easy for me since my grandfather gave me a medical gown at the age of three. As I grew up I started loving it more and more, despite my family members telling me how difficult it would be to manage both studies and sport. When you love something, I think it’s easy to focus. I used to avoid going out with friends and focus on my studies and game and got my priorities right,” said Marta, who has secured a record of seven titles and three MVP awards in one year.

SPO 230608 WPL MARTA ARAMZAN 2-1686319499673
Marta Ortega and Juan Tello of Tigers in action against Alejandro Granados and Beatriz Fernandez of Panthers during World Padel League at Coca Cola Arena in Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

On her goals she said: “I had two goals — to achieve the No. 1 spot in padel and to become a doctor. I have done it. Now I want to be the No. 1 again. I’m also studying for my Master’s degree in sports traumatology. So maybe in the future I will become a traumatology doctor. That was what I want. But now I’m so focused to try again to become No. 1.”

Involving kids

She believes involving kids at a bigger level will help improve the padel at the grassroot level. “I think the key for the growth of the game is to make kids play. For example, in many countries in Europe you see lots of people playing, but normally they are like 30 to 40 years old. Even at the World Championship we find most of them are above 30 years old, so I think the key will be to let kids play or have like a training session after school. I think that will be perfect. We need also good coaches, because they have to train as professional as soon as possible if they want them to be professionals. This is why I think the kids are the key.”