Marco Oneto had already retired from the Chilean team after obtaining the silver medal at the Pan American Games in Lima 2019, but he returned this year with an illusion: to get a place in the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021. With this objective in mind, he played the World Cup in Egypt, where they finished in 27th place and the pre-Olympic in Montenegro, where the historic player suffered a very serious injury to the Achilles tendon. It was his final farewell from La Roja. A bitter, lapidary moment, an unexpected end.
Santiago 2023 spoke with the “Wonder Giant”, now that he is facing 4 months of recovery after the tendon operation and about to become a father for the third time. With the sincerity that characterized him throughout his career, most of it carried out at FC Barcelona, Marco says that “it is complex to be able to summarize 23 years of experiences with the national team. Although the most positive thigs always stay with me, my history with the national team has been one of love and lack of love during my sports career. I went through great moments and others very hard, from being fired for not paying a cast at the age of 16 to be the MVP (most valuable player) in America in 2012”.
But Marco does not lose sight of all the good that sport has brought him, despite going through a complex physical recovery and at the same time, starting a company in times of pandemic and combining it with his last months of high-performance competition:
“I appreciate having been able to captain this team for almost a decade and being able to have the opportunity to contribute with my grain of sand in the development and visualization of my sport in Chile. I see Santiago 2023 as a great illusion and also with sorrow, always I wanted to be able to be in a mega event in Chile. I always had that debt in a personal way, but Santiago 2023 caught me already a little old” says Marco without leaving humor aside.
With all the experience acquired in his years in Spain, the now former captain of the national team is clear that the visualization of handball achieved through the Pan American will be key for the development of this sport in the future. "I trust that we can use this arena that this mega event gives us to be able to solidify our base, mainly with national and regional competitions in which our sport can be sustained in future generations and we do not depend (as before) on the players emigrating to nurture the national teams and increase their sporting level ”.
Marco's illusions with a view to Santiago 2023 are the same dreams that thousands of athletes in the Americas dream of: “This tournament is a wonderful opportunity to give back to sports and national athletes. Dedicated to 100% of our figures, that mark a difference with the past. That Chile be a sports country and that, from the hand of this mega event, our society learns of the importance of the inclusion of sport in the development and growth of a healthy society ”.
Words from the king of Chilean handball. One who, though forced by injury to abdicate the throne, will never lose his crown.