Hall of Fame
Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther established in 1994, together with two close family members, the Spanish Croquet Association, that was registered in the Spanish National Register of Sport Associations. Since then, up to the present time, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther has been President for the 25 years plus of history of this Association, turned into Spanish Croquet Federation in 2015. Shortly after its establishment, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther, achieved its integration in the European Croquet Federation (number 11 of 20 countries), as well as the status of “Observer Member” in the WCF that same year (number 18 of 29 countries), becoming first “Associate Member” in 2007 and later, in 2012 “Full Member” (with two votes, four votes in 2018 and six in 2020).
From 2002 to 2006, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther was member of the Management Committee of the European Croquet Federation.Since the very first, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther worked towards making this sport known in Spain, particularly in Asturias, organizing tournaments and events to draw new players. In 1995 he organized the I Spanish Championship of AC Croquet (currently this event has reached 26 editions).In the following years (1996-2006), the growth of croquet in Spain was more than remarkable, increasing to nearly 300 the number of FEC affiliations and a Spanish player participating for the first time in 1996 in the IV European Championship. This growth was associated with an improvement in the level of play of the Spanish representatives that, again, in 2005 and 2009, made it into a World Championship of AC Croquet in Cheltenham (England) and Palm Beach (USA).FEC hosted in 1999, as well as in 2004, the two first Open Championships (AC) contested in Spain. These two events augured, without a doubt, the important future that (it already was obvious) was in store for croquet in Spain.As a consequence of the efforts of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther at the head of the Spanish Croquet Federation, croquet continued its expansion and, since 2010, croquet lawns were built in different regions of Spain, more so in the South (Andalucía) and in Madrid.On the other hand, Spain continued to participate in all major international competitions, and it is to be pointed out the exponential growth nationally, as well as the increasing recognition of the Spanish Croquet Federation abroad.
In 2012 (Egypt) and 2016 (England) Spain won a place at the World Championships of GC Croquet, and was able to make it into the Tier 2.1 of the World Championship of AC Croquet (England) in 2014.The work of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther has been commended in several occasions, one of them being the Award for contribution to sports that he received in 2015 from the Spanish Olympic Committee (“COE”).Also, in 2017 (the same year in which two Spanish players became European champions of AC and GC croquet), the Spanish Croquet Federation presented Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther with a commemorative award as proof of sincere gratitude for his efforts and selfless dedication to croquet in Spain.In addition, that same year, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther established, under the patronage of the Spanish Croquet Federation, the Spanish Croquet Academy. Its aims and functions being to promote the practice of croquet, to impart initiation lessons and improve the level of Spanish players, and to prepare referees and trainers to promote the development of croquet in Spain.For all these efforts and for his constant support and promotion of croquet, in 2018 Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala was again recognized by the COE as sports ambassador and promoter of healthy lifestyles. This recognition was, without doubt, one of the most representative of his sport’s achievements and we believe is a solid ground upon which to base the definition of the tireless effort of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther as a major supporter of development and promotion of croquet in Spain, strongly recommended as a healthy sport to be incorporated into our regular activities.
In 2019, the Spanish Croquet Federation, under the direction of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther, organized the 2nd GC Spanish Open Championship (the first being in 2015), attended by elite international players. Reg Bamford, Khaled Younis, Stephen Mulliner, Ahmed El Mahdi, Lionel Tibble, Robert Stafeckis and Sherif Abdelwahab, among others, participated in this championship that was won by a Spanish player.In the year 1994, at the beginning of this adventure, croquet had barely 30 affiliates and only one regulation lawn.
As a result of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther’s persistence (together with other enthusiasts, clubs and FEC MC members in the 25 years of this presidency since its establishment) the numbers in August 2020 are significantly different: nearly 1,400 affiliates and more than 26 regulation lawns (and the same number under construction), with croquet becoming more and more a common practice in Spain. Currently, Spanish croquet can boast more than 40 international players, understanding as such those that have officially represented Spain having been selected by the Spanish Croquet Federation. Similarly, if at the beginning the percentage of Spanish players represented a minimum amount of total active players globally, today we can affirm that Spain represents more than 13% of total GC active players in the World, according to the International GC Grading System of the WCF. It also has 4 players in the top 100 in this same modality and one player as number 6 in AC.