Successful and independent by FOBERINI: Olga Saladuha
Behind the fragility and sophistication of this girl lies the steel character and willpower, which can only be envied. World champion, European Champion, bronze medalist of the Olympic Games, multiple champion of Ukraine in track and field athletics, Olga Saladuha took part in photoproject for FOBERINI brand and told the story of her success in exclusive interview
What inspired you to become an athlete?
I watched Olympic Games on TV. At that time I studied in kids sports club. I was 9 years old. When I saw the pedestal on which there were Olympic champions with laurel wreaths on their heads and medals on their chests. I was so impressed by their emotions, tears of happiness and the energy that prevailed in the stadium, that I decided for myself: “I want to dedicate my life to sports!”
What is your most important achievement?
This is Olympic bronze and a victory in the World Championship. Probably, it is every athlete’s dream to stand on the Olympic pedestal.
Remember your most difficult moment in your career. Why did you overcome it?
In 2015, I got a serious back injury, but went to the World Championship and performed under epidural analgesia. I left the stadium with terrible pain and with thought that this is my last exit to the sport, and I will never return to the sector. Doctors said that I need surgery on the spine and maybe I will not go back to the sport… After going to the doctors of Europe and America I decided to do everything possible to return to the sector. I was fortunate enough to get acquainted with an excellent doctor and a talented rehabilitologist. Five months of sports calm, diligent rehabilitation for 5 hours under a row, infernal pains, patience and self-effort, not to give up. In January I started to practice athletics. Only the will to win and the childhood dream of becoming an Olympic champion helped me not to drop my hands and move on.
Who inspires you now?
English jumper, Jonathan Edwards. He has a very beautiful and original technique. Looking at Jonathan, you see beautiful and really easy jumps. And I am also inspired by the victories of our sportsmens, such as Jean Belenuk, Oleg Vernyaev, Olya Harlan and many other guys. Ukraine is a great and very talented nation, which gave the World a lot of outstanding athletes. It is a country that, despite all difficulties, always rises and wins!
What does it mean for you to be a World Champion and represent Ukraine in international competitions?
I’m an athlete, this is my job, I devoted myself to my favorite business. Probably, without such a strong love for sports it is very difficult to withstand such loads. Therefore, I approach my role as a Ukrainian sportsman with special love and great responsibility!
How does the career of an athlete in Ukraine differ from a sports career abroad?
Undoubtedly, there is a better material base, more sponsors. This is what we lack in Ukraine. We need to strive for this and develop sport. At the same time, I am convinced that, first of all, it is necessary to start with children’s sports. This year the Championship was held in Ukraine and the stadium was empty, although competitions of this kind are very spectacular. The stadiums are crowded with spectators at these competitions abroad . After all, when the stadium is fool of people, the athlete even more wants to show the result.
What is the sport image of Ukraine at the world level?
Ukrainian athletics is very well known, because among our sportsmen there are a lot of champions of Europe and the World, we have many champions. We are known, loved and always happy to see at international competitions. Ukraine, as an athletic power, is highly respected.
What stereotypes about Ukraine exist abroad?
Of course, sports Ukraine is primarily associated with Sergei Bubka, Andriy Shevchenko and the Klitschko Brothers.
What would you like to change in Ukrainian sports?
I would make a good sports base for training athletes. In Europe, there are a lot of training bases in which you can practice different kinds of sports – from track and field athletics to figure skating. There is also a hotel building and a base for rehabilitation. Thus, the sportsman is provided with everything necessary, his job is only to practice and show the result.
Were there proposals to go abroad and compete for another country? Why did you stay in Ukraine?
There were a lot of proposals to leave, especially to Europe, especially in 2014. But I am convinced that you need to love your country and your sources. In addition, I’m already an athlete with a name that is associated with Ukraine. Therefore, when I had a choice: to go abroad to good material goods or to compete for my country, I chose the second option.
What do you advise future athletes?
First and foremost: never give up! Even in the most stalemate situations, in moments of trauma, failure and despair, remember that labor and self-confidence can win. Even in the most hopeless at first glance situations. Then success will come to you. I say this, judging by myself.
What is your future goal in your career?
A lot of World Championships are ahead, and, of course, my dream – in 2020, the Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo.
Producer: Ekaterina Zemlyanaya
Photo: Victor Bondar
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