In Spain, the sport of bullfighting has been dominated by male matadors for over 4 years.
In Spain, the sport of bullfighting has been dominated by male matadors for over 4 years. But on Saturday (1 July), an 18-year-old girl thrilled spectators in Madrid's "Cathedral of Bullfighting", the Las Ventas arena, with a skilful display of passing. She dispatched two bulls, winning an ear from one, and the acclamation of the crowd.
SYNOPSIS: No woman has fought in Las Ventas bull ring since 1936 when the government banned female matadors. Over 20,000 people packed into the stadium to see Maribel Atienzar make her debut performance in the Spanish capital. Known simply as "Maribel", she has established her reputation for fearless bullfighting in provincial rings. She is the first woman to make a name in the sport since the ban was lifted several years ago.
Maribel, who is only just over five feet (152.4 centimetres) tall faced two bulls, both lively three-year-old, weighing over half a ton (508 kilograms). She has been fighting bulls for two years, having abandoned her previous ambition to become a nun. Maribel was born in Albacete in eastern Spain and during her career as a matador has avoided any serious injuries but has been tossed, trampled and bruised o several occasions. Her swift execution of this second bull and masterly "Faema" -- the moment of truth for both matador and bull -- won her the traditional reward from the crowd, a bull's ear.
After proving herself in Las Ventas, Maribel has become one of the most valuable matadors in Spain, with offers pouring in from all the leading bullfighting impresarios. This year she has already earned over 100,000 Pounds(180,000 United States Dollars).