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Ognyana Dusheva: Coach without dreams and motivation is like a sailless ship

09-06-2019

 

What did attract you to the kayak? How did it all begin?

It was a warm April day in 1976. A young canoe-kayak coach, Emil Barbulov, was recruiting children for a group of kayaks from the schools. In the break, one of my friends and classmate saw him and enrolled, telling me in the classroom about it. I had no idea what a canoe-kayak was, but I also wanted to train something. The bell rang for a start of the class, the teacher came in, and I went out of the classroom to find the coach and naturally I was punished for it. I found it in front of the front door and asked to sign up for canoe-kayak too. Unfortunately, he immediately refused and told me there was no room in the notebook to record more names. Obviously my desire was enormous, I saw that there was a little distance between two names and I told him to write me there. So I forced myself into the group. When I first sat down in the boat, I knew what a canoe and what kayak is and the feeling was indescribable. I felt that was what I want to do, and canoeing is my sport. I started with a desire that I have not lost to this day. Even though I'm 55 years old, I'm kayaking every day with my athletes, and I'm really excited to be in the water.

 

What is the emotion of winning the Olympic medal?

 

When you are at the Olympic Games you see all the great names of the sport in one place, a good organization, big advertisements and a lot of noise ... But you're there to concentrate and give the best of yourself. If you go for a medal - you do not notice any of the shimmering atmosphere around you. I dreamed of a medal since 1976. We were training for a medal, we went for a medal and won a medal. The year 1988 and the way to this medal were very harsh. With my partner Ivanka Muerova we won a K2 medal in 1987 at the World Cup in Duisburg, which was also a qualification to secure our participation in the Olympic Games in this discipline. Unfortunately on a camp in Cuba during a training session because of an inappropriate joke by one of our teammates, Ivanka suffered a very heavy trauma in the shoulder, which caused the doctor to forbid her to compete. So I got the chance to row only in K4. It was a big problem, because without Ivanka we did not have a fourth kayak competitor. In the winter of 1987 we had to change the paddles with an absolutely new model and appearance. This suggested an absolutely new technique in rowing and quite different sensations in the water. I, Ivanka, Vanya and Diana were already accustomed to the new paddles, but after the doctor's ban, we did not have a kayak ready for the new model, and there was not much time to prepare. We had two spare kayak competitors- Tsetska and Borislava. The one to beat at 500 m with the new paddle - it would be in K4. Borislava won and took the place of Ivanka. However, a new test for K4 - qualification of the international regatta Sofia, a month and a half before the Olympic Games in Seoul, was yet to come. There was only one more quota for K4 and the fight was between Bulgaria and Romania.The boat to win, was to go to Seoul, the other country loses the right to participate. We've won! We won our participation! Finally, the emotion after the Seoul final - a deep sigh and gratitude to the Lord and the universe that my dream come true!

 

You were a competitor, a coach and an international judge. What are the similarities and the differences between them?

 

As a competitor, you have dreams, but whether these dreams will come true depends not only on your desire but also on what coach you will come across and bring you to victory. I have been grateful to all my national coaches over the years like Georgi Markov in girls, Nedyalko Petrov, Bozidar Milenkov, Valeri Bonev and Damian Damyanov as a good example for a senior coach who produces Olympic medalists (Seoul, Barcelona, ​​Atlanta and Sydney). As a coach you want to share and teach your athletes the best. I am always very strict and demanding during training, but also a best friend, mother and protector for my athletes. The gratitude, trust and love I have received by all of them and from all over the world where I have been a coach, makes me happy that I have left a positive memory in all of them and taught them to fight for victory not only in sport, but also in life. As a judge you are looking at everything to be fair and just and everyone should fight for victory on equal terms. The resemblance is that whatever you do, you do it with love and desire in the name of your favorite sport. The difference is that you are first a performer, then a supervisor and finally an appraiser.

 

What does sport give to a person? And what does it take?

 

I can safely say that sport only gives and learn and does not take away anything. Sport first teaches you to be self-sufficient, disciplined, overcome any difficulties, be able to make quick decisions, be independent, to vendicate yourself everywhere! Sport connects you to friends of all ethnicities and religions. You open the doors to the whole world. Sport teaches you to see only the positive things and not to pay attention to the little things. Sport gives you health and nourishes youth, regardless of age.

 

What is it necessary for athletes today to be Olympic medalists?

 

The first and most important thing, in my opinion, is when choosing children for a sport this to be done by a coach who inspire children, who makes them love the sport, to plant the seed of the dream of an Olympic medal in their hearts and to help with their knowledge, motivation and skills to achieve this dream. Coach without dreams and motivation is like a ship without sails. Unfortunately, after all the good things we had until 1989 in terms of coaches, sports facilities, organizations, sports schools for sports talent, is gone. And this system is in China now,and in all Asian countries. It's about our very successful sporting system, which after the 1989 changed and we denied and ruined ourselves.

 

Good coaches, who can make good athletes, are abroad because nobody wants them here. The sports facilities and recreation centers used in every club are now working for money, not for the athletes. At the time, the state helped sport to have Olympic medals with camps, recovery, equipment, sport equipment, medical and scientific services. Nowadays athletes pay for everything to get to a race or be cut off by someone behind a desk. Athletes are the best ad for a country! Real sport is made with money from the state and well distributed by federations to athletes with the chances of medals and not by obedient performers alone. And the most important condition - medals in sport are achieved by coaches who are specialists. If Bulgaria wants to have Olympic medalists, it should return to the system before 1989, by refining it with new methods and technologies.

 

 * The interview is published with edits by the author. All rights to the text created under the project "Olympic Medalists of the City of Plovdiv" belongs to Municipal Enterprise "Youth Center Plovdiv"

What did attract you to the kayak? How did it all begin?

It was a warm April day in 1976. A young canoe-kayak coach, Emil Barbulov, was recruiting children for a group of kayaks from the schools. In the break, one of my friends and classmate saw him and enrolled, telling me in the classroom about it. I had no idea what a canoe-kayak was, but I also wanted to train something. The bell rang for a start of the class, the teacher came in, and I went out of the classroom to find the coach and naturally I was punished for it. I found it in front of the front door and asked to sign up for canoe-kayak too. Unfortunately, he immediately refused and told me there was no room in the notebook to record more names. Obviously my desire was enormous, I saw that there was a little distance between two names and I told him to write me there. So I forced myself into the group. When I first sat down in the boat, I knew what a canoe and what kayak is and the feeling was indescribable. I felt that was what I want to do, and canoeing is my sport. I started with a desire that I have not lost to this day. Even though I'm 55 years old, I'm kayaking every day with my athletes, and I'm really excited to be in the water.

 

What is the emotion of winning the Olympic medal?

 

When you are at the Olympic Games you see all the great names of the sport in one place, a good organization, big advertisements and a lot of noise ... But you're there to concentrate and give the best of yourself. If you go for a medal - you do not notice any of the shimmering atmosphere around you. I dreamed of a medal since 1976. We were training for a medal, we went for a medal and won a medal. The year 1988 and the way to this medal were very harsh. With my partner Ivanka Muerova we won a K2 medal in 1987 at the World Cup in Duisburg, which was also a qualification to secure our participation in the Olympic Games in this discipline. Unfortunately on a camp in Cuba during a training session because of an inappropriate joke by one of our teammates, Ivanka suffered a very heavy trauma in the shoulder, which caused the doctor to forbid her to compete. So I got the chance to row only in K4. It was a big problem, because without Ivanka we did not have a fourth kayak competitor. In the winter of 1987 we had to change the paddles with an absolutely new model and appearance. This suggested an absolutely new technique in rowing and quite different sensations in the water. I, Ivanka, Vanya and Diana were already accustomed to the new paddles, but after the doctor's ban, we did not have a kayak ready for the new model, and there was not much time to prepare. We had two spare kayak competitors- Tsetska and Borislava. The one to beat at 500 m with the new paddle - it would be in K4. Borislava won and took the place of Ivanka. However, a new test for K4 - qualification of the international regatta Sofia, a month and a half before the Olympic Games in Seoul, was yet to come. There was only one more quota for K4 and the fight was between Bulgaria and Romania.The boat to win, was to go to Seoul, the other country loses the right to participate. We've won! We won our participation! Finally, the emotion after the Seoul final - a deep sigh and gratitude to the Lord and the universe that my dream come true!

 

You were a competitor, a coach and an international judge. What are the similarities and the differences between them?

 

As a competitor, you have dreams, but whether these dreams will come true depends not only on your desire but also on what coach you will come across and bring you to victory. I have been grateful to all my national coaches over the years like Georgi Markov in girls, Nedyalko Petrov, Bozidar Milenkov, Valeri Bonev and Damian Damyanov as a good example for a senior coach who produces Olympic medalists (Seoul, Barcelona, ​​Atlanta and Sydney). As a coach you want to share and teach your athletes the best. I am always very strict and demanding during training, but also a best friend, mother and protector for my athletes. The gratitude, trust and love I have received by all of them and from all over the world where I have been a coach, makes me happy that I have left a positive memory in all of them and taught them to fight for victory not only in sport, but also in life. As a judge you are looking at everything to be fair and just and everyone should fight for victory on equal terms. The resemblance is that whatever you do, you do it with love and desire in the name of your favorite sport. The difference is that you are first a performer, then a supervisor and finally an appraiser.

 

What does sport give to a person? And what does it take?

 

I can safely say that sport only gives and learn and does not take away anything. Sport first teaches you to be self-sufficient, disciplined, overcome any difficulties, be able to make quick decisions, be independent, to vendicate yourself everywhere! Sport connects you to friends of all ethnicities and religions. You open the doors to the whole world. Sport teaches you to see only the positive things and not to pay attention to the little things. Sport gives you health and nourishes youth, regardless of age.

 

What is it necessary for athletes today to be Olympic medalists?

 

The first and most important thing, in my opinion, is when choosing children for a sport this to be done by a coach who inspire children, who makes them love the sport, to plant the seed of the dream of an Olympic medal in their hearts and to help with their knowledge, motivation and skills to achieve this dream. Coach without dreams and motivation is like a ship without sails. Unfortunately, after all the good things we had until 1989 in terms of coaches, sports facilities, organizations, sports schools for sports talent, is gone. And this system is in China now,and in all Asian countries. It's about our very successful sporting system, which after the 1989 changed and we denied and ruined ourselves.

 

Good coaches, who can make good athletes, are abroad because nobody wants them here. The sports facilities and recreation centers used in every club are now working for money, not for the athletes. At the time, the state helped sport to have Olympic medals with camps, recovery, equipment, sport equipment, medical and scientific services. Nowadays athletes pay for everything to get to a race or be cut off by someone behind a desk. Athletes are the best ad for a country! Real sport is made with money from the state and well distributed by federations to athletes with the chances of medals and not by obedient performers alone. And the most important condition - medals in sport are achieved by coaches who are specialists. If Bulgaria wants to have Olympic medalists, it should return to the system before 1989, by refining it with new methods and technologies.

 

 * The interview is published with edits by the author. All rights to the text created under the project "Olympic Medalists of the City of Plovdiv" belongs to Municipal Enterprise "Youth Center Plovdiv".

 

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Project "Establishing Youth Centre in the city of Plovdiv", with the financial support of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014 ДО3-9/28.01.2014