Three times Olympic champion Darya Domracheva talks about her time off competitions, shares her impressions of the World Championships in Oslo and passes her opinion on the recent doping scandals.
- How’ve you been? Has the break in the competition season worked out for your own good just as you wanted?
- I’m very well, thank you. This forced break was very important for me as my body needed full recovery. To say more it’s been very beneficial for me cause it gave me a chance to have a look at the overall picture of my life, realize a great deal of different stuff and highlight the most important things. Due to the intense competition schedule and constant races I simply do not have the time.
- What can you tell about the world championship in Oslo? Do you have your favorites?
- I always support Belarusian athletes no matter what, and cheer for both men’s and women’s teams. I’m very glad that Ole Einar has got medals and pleased with the results of Marie Dorin Habert. She’s done a terrific job!
- Four gold medals for Martin Fourcade… Can you explain why it was such a success?
- The Frenchman is in terrific shape, so any other comments are needless here. I can only say "Bravo!"
- What can you say about two silver medals for Ole Einar Bjørndalen?
- His medals made the whole world open their eyes and believe in the impossible. Ole Einar’s performance in Oslo and his whole career is indeed the best example of man’s victory over the circumstances and the difficulties encountered on the way. Despite the fact that many people put an end to his career and his high results a few years ago, he continued to do what he likes without paying attention to anyone or anything. Personally, it makes me believe that nothing is impossible, and I'm sure that is also motivates many more people out there.
- How can you evaluate the performance of the Belarusian team this season? For instance, Alexander Tikhonov mentioned in his interview: there is no biathlon in Belarus without Darya Domracheva.
- It was a very sharp statement. I am sure that our team has a lot of good athletes, who are willing to show the results and able to do so. Unfortunately, the majority of them have faced some serious challenges this year. There have been some dramatic changes in the coaching staff followed by the complete change of the preparation system not everyone could adjust to. It’s quite difficult for me to judge from the outside, but I’ m always in touch with the girls, and I know that currently not everything is in the team as we would like it to be, but we do believe that we all will adjust.
- By the way, how do you cope with the failures? Do you prefer to hide in your own shell, or perhaps to talk to someone close? Maybe shopping as Dorothea Wierer does it?
- Sports failures are full of dramatic and vivid emotions that come immediately after a bad performance ... I think it is important to release all the tension straight away; for example to have a row or to cry your heart out. As a rule it happens in team’s locker room after the finish, therefore anyone can get into the hit of the moment (Darya laughs). There is also a chance that later on someone close may «suffer» as well, although the difference is that the family is always there for me, and these emotions don’t do any harm. The next stage is anger, and only after that you calm down, take a deep breath and start analyzing what went wrong. It is important to draw the moral out of all situations for your own benefit. Although sometimes you just do not want to see anyone or talk to anyone. In this case I go for a run and leave all negative emotions out there. As for shopping, for me – as for many other girls – it’s a good way to relax; plus it is useful.
- Doping has recently become a hot topic. Do you think all the athletes competing in the World Cup and World Championship are doping free?
- I really hope the athletes I’m competing alongside with play by the rules, but even if it is not the case I always believe that they will be punished sooner or later. I support the idea of making the punishment for using doping more harsh. I’m also for all doping tests to be stored for life and re-checked using new techniques that appear. You know, I do not actually see a big difference between financial crimes, for example and a deliberate use of performance-enhancing drugs. Basically it’s a fraud in both cases. Why does the punishment differ so much then?
- Let’s talk a little bit more about doping. The confession by Maria Sharapova has become a real shock to the whole world. What do you know about meldonium? What was your reaction when you found out that the doping probe was positive?
- What happened to Maria was of course a shocker; it is one of those situations where negligence brought to such terrible consequences. It’s difficult for me to say something about the effect of this drug, as I had no heart-related problems and there was no need for me to take it. Recovery issues, if they arise, I solve by making adjustments to the training and recovery schedule. I do not find it reasonable to load up the liver with some extra medicine. If a person experiences any health issues, the decision should be made by a specialist, who must be aware of anti-doping rules and the list of banned medicines. Recently there has been a lot of different information about meldonium, and as I understand it, the decision to include this drug in the list of banned is rather controversial. Perhaps more research is needed to understand which of the two parties is right.
by Tatiana Pomelnikova (www.sovsport.ru)