Interview with Polina Guryeva: a happy mother who is aiming for gold at the 2024 Olympics17.09.2023 | 23:59 |
Polina Guryeva - every Turkmenistan has probably heard about her. The name of the weightlifter, who in July 2021 won the first Olympic medal in the history of Turkmenistan, was on everyone’s lips.
Now Polina Guryeva is 23 years old. She has already become a happy wife and mother, while she never ceases to improve in sports and is currently representing the country at the World Championships in Riyadh.
While in Saudi Arabia, she took the time to interview an ORIENT correspondent and talk about how her life has changed two years after her successful performance at the Tokyo Olympics.
— How do you feel remembering the events of those days when you became a silver medalist at the Olympic Games? And did it change your life?
— Oh yeah! My life changed to “before” and “after”. Drastically. But now, more than two years later, I still feel those emotions when I remember that day. I often watch videos of my performances - not for narcissism, but for analysis - and read comments from my fans. It gives me a big boost. I keep my medal in a special place and sometimes pick it up. And you know, I feel that this is not only my reward, but also the reward of all those who supported me along my path.
— What is your most memorable moment at the Olympics, not counting the awards ceremony?
— To be honest, I remember nothing except my speech and the award. Well, jokes aside, it’s a pity that I couldn’t see the city, because there was a pandemic, and we had to be in the “bubble” of the Olympic village throughout the Games.
— After marriage and motherhood, is there still motivation to reach the top in weightlifting?
— Of course, there is motivation, it does not dissolve in ordinary women’s worries when there is a goal. I have it. I want to win an Olympic medal again, but this time gold.
— How do you manage to cope with competitive pressure at such high-level competitions?
— I believe that you should not be afraid of your competitors, you should look at them not as rivals, but as colleagues, and learn from them what you lack. Sport is not an argument, well, in that form when people hardly hear each other, trying to prove that they are smarter or stronger in some way. This is not opposition, it is a common desire for the best result. We all set the bar for each other, look up to the best and are ready to move forward, overcoming all obstacles.
— Did you have any obstacles on the way to the Olympics?
— Every athlete faces his own personal obstacles and barriers to something more. I had a lot of them too. My coach was my support, he helped me in everything. With his help I overcame all difficulties.
— How do you combine a sports career with studies and family life?
— My husband helps and supports me in everything. Mom helps out a lot with babysitting. So thanks to this support team I’m coping.
— Was it difficult to return to professional sports after the birth of a child?
— No, it's not hard. I admit, I really missed the weight all this time. Two years after the birth of the baby, I began to train, trying to get back into shape and catch up. So I'm still in the process...
— Do you have an idol?
— My idol is our weightlifter Alty Orazdurdyev. He was an outstanding athlete, for me he is a legend. I will not be mistaken if I say that his example inspires all weightlifters in Turkmenistan. Three-time world champion, Olympic record holder, three-time European champion, Asian champion - who doesn’t dream of these titles?
— How did you get into weightlifting?
— My dad’s friend brought me to the section in 2012, when I was 12 years old. I immediately liked it there - it was somehow unusual. Not everything, of course, worked out right away, but over time I came to the conclusion that one should never give up or lose heart, on the contrary, one should set a goal and go towards it.
— And now you became the first Olympic medalist from Turkmenistan. Now your goal is Paris. What then?
“I’m glad that my success in Tokyo encouraged teenagers in our country to take up weightlifting. I believe that our country will have many more Olympic awards in this sport. As for me, my plans so far are as follows: if I win an Olympic medal in Paris, I want to end my sports career and devote my life to my family.