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Spain triumphs! Fascist anthem hails Spanish badminton champ

Ghost of Franco haunts women's singles medal ceremony in Jakarta

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) evidently needs to update its international anthems CD library after it played the old-school fascist Spanish Royal March to hail Carolina Marín's successful defence of her world women's singles title on Sunday.

Marín, who saw off India's Saina Nehwal in the world championship final in Jakarta, looked suitably bemused as she was awarded gold to the sound of the march complete with rousing lyrics* by poet José María Pemán.

Written in 1928 for the already-existing Royal March, the words were adopted by Franco and chums following their 1939 victory in the Spanish Civil War. They were finally consigned to the dustbin of history in 1978, and since then the anthem has been played without words.

Subsequent attempts to knock up a new set of democracy-friendly lyrics – including a 2007 competition by the Spanish Olympic Committee to support its 2016 Olympic bid – have come to nothing. This is due largely to delicate separatist sensibilities in some of Spain's autonomous regions, many of which have their own anthems.

It's a touchy subject, so while last night's 9pm Telediario on national channel RTVE1 rightly trumpeted Marín's triumph, the editors decided not to mention the anthem cock-up.

Down at the BWF, meanwhile, red-faced officials offered the following apology: "An older version of the anthem was played during the Women's Singles medal ceremony, following Marin's retention of the title which she won a year ago. The Badminton World Federation and the hosts, the Indonesia Badminton Association, sincerely regret this unfortunate mistake." ®


Pemán's effort includes the inspirational:

¡Triunfa España! Los yunques y las ruedas
cantan al compás
del himno de la fe.

Spain triumphs! The anvils and wheels
sing to the rhythm
of the hymn of the faith.

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