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"I want to dance on the podium at the Olympics," – Iryna Klymets

Iryna Klymets is one of the most outstanding female athletes of Volyn and Ukraine, a Master graduate of Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University. Last year's World Cup in Doha became, perhaps, the most successful start in her career. In the hammer throw sector, the girl managed to update her personal record three times and stopped short of the medal, taking fifth place.

Given the potential of the athlete, Iryna is considered to be one of the real contenders for the Olympic Games medal, but if such expectations are justified, it will not be possible to find out this summer: the Tokyo Olympics has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time of our talk, Irina was at the meeting in Antalya. The girl quickly agreed on the interview and promptly answered all questions.

- Iryna, we give our best wishes from Lutsk to Antalya. Now you are at the meeting, please tell us about the peculiarities of your training, considering the situation with the coronavirus. Is it possible to train properly?

- We came here to prepare for the European Winter Cup. Eventually, these competitions were canceled. Therefore, we were preparing for the Olympic Games. But it was also decided to postpone the Olympics, so our meeting is coming to an end. Because of this, the organizers are looking for tickets for us to return to Ukraine. The training conditions here are much better. There is an opportunity to barbell in the hotel. We have also built a sector nearby, where we could throw shells and train fully.

- It has been reported recently that the Olympic Games have been postponed to next summer. On the one hand, your dream of competing in the Olympics for the second time is a year away, and, on the other hand, you will have more time to prepare for the competition. How do you assess such a verdict by the International Olympic Committee in the context of your prospects for competitions? Will this delay help you prepare better, or vice versa?

- I'm not disappointed. For myself, I have decided - if the Olympics are postponed, then I will have more chances and time to improve my skills, prepare better. After all, whatever may happen, happens for the best. The main thing is to stop this pandemic, so we can fully participate in the competition.



"I still did the impossible in Doha"

- Have you talked to the coaches about how you will now prepare for the Olympics? Obviously, you will have to change the preparation plan for the competition.

- We haven't thought about that yet. We must wait for the end of the pandemic. A new schedule of competitions will appear - then we will be able to map out your preparation. Now I have a kind of transition period. We have reduced the workload and are training in support mode until everything is back.


- A few months ago there was a lot of discussion about problems with the state funding of training for our Olympians. Is this situation resolved?

- Today the situation has improved. We have written and agreed a clear plan of preparation. In material terms, everything is much better than last year. That is, financially we are able to make meetings wherever we need them.


- As for the previous starts, it is worth mentioning the Doha World Championships, where you took fifth place with three personal records, the so-called "personal-bests". However, "appetite comes with eating": you were separated from the podium by 80 centimeters. Was that your maximum at the time?

- Remembering the previous year, Doha was truly an unforgettable event. I cannot say that this is my maximum as a result. There were a lot of technical mistakes at that point, and you could add physically … But then, I did the impossible, updating my personal record three times. Of course, I wanted a medal, but it gave me even more motivation to move on to the podium at serious starts, particularly at the Olympics.



"Student years are the best!"

- Taking into account the fact that we are preparing an interview for the University's website, I can't help but wonder how student life of a professional athlete, who spends most of her time in different parts of the world: at competitions, at training camps, looks like? Please, think about your student years.

- Student years are the best! Of course, it was very difficult to combine training with meetings and competitions, but the teachers and management of the University always treat everyone with understanding. I took tasks, went to meetings, there I performed assignments in parallel, and when I returned to Lutsk - I handed in. Sometimes they were adjusting and helping me. I passed all the exams and tests, so I am very grateful to the University and the faculty. Now I also often go to the sports complex of the University. Everyone is interested in my life. Teachers and management support, praise. At the Ukrainian Championships in Lutsk, many employees and students of Lesya Ukrainka National University come to cheer for me.

- It is said that athlete is already a profession. And education is not needed for such people. Is higher education important for a professional athlete? Tell us about it from your own experience.

- I linked my higher education to sports. I completed my Master's degree at Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University. Education is one of the important aspects in my sports career. I am a trainer-educator by profession. I found out many useful things in the University, including teaching methods and techniques. Therefore, I believe that higher education is a must for a professional athlete. And it is great when education is related to your sports activity.

- In Lutsk there is good sports infrastructure: it is the Avanhard stadium, the stadium and sports halls of Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University, and public gyms. Only a good sector for throwing was lacking for proper training of the throwers. I know this issue is also being resolved. Can we expect that now you're more likely to be at home and train appropriately?

- I know that they plan to build a "throwing town". But it's not just that. It would also be good to build a training sector. Then I would be able to train normally, be in a meeting in Lutsk, not going anywhere, but staying in my native Volyn. The training sector in Lutsk is very necessary!


"Sometimes I get so emotional that I don't even remember whether I danced or not."

- Despite your young age, you can already be considered an experienced athlete. Now a galaxy of young throwers is “breathing down the neck”. Do you have that feeling of competition with your younger colleagues?

- I am only in favor of having the considerable competition. It motivates me more, does not allow me to relax. First of all, I'm looking for motivation and watching athletes, a little more professional than I am. It helps not to give up. And when I feel tired or just don't want to go to work out, I realize that a non-attendance is impossible for me. But, of course, the younger talented generation is growing up. This, too, pushes me to higher results, to self-improvement.

- You have a kind of "feature" - it's your dancing. Viewers are already accustomed to them and discuss them as well as good results. Have you prepared anything special for the Olympics?

- Since the European Championships in Berlin, I have been dancing at every successful start. First of all, this is my uncontrollable expression of emotions. Then, after the competition, I see my dances. Sometimes I get so emotional that I don't even remember whether I danced or not. At the Olympics, I want to get emotions that will make me dance. I wish it all worked out like the Doha World Cup. Then I danced almost after every performance. I want it at the Olympics not only after the sixth attempt to dance, but also on the podium, or after the podium - as things will be.

- What would you advise the students of our University during the quarantine period? What should they do at this time?

- Quarantine is a time for leisure with family and friends. This is a time for self-improvement, in order to understand what really matters to you. Quarantine is a good opportunity to start something new. Due to the fast pace of life, we often do not notice some small things and even important life situations. When you have the 24 hours that you spend at home, you can rethink your whole life.

Interviewed by Andrii MOSHKUN

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