The 2012 London Olympic Games is fast approaching. Every Olympics is remembered for the records that were broken, the champions who became legends and the newcomers who became household names. Darya Klishina is one of those newcomers who stand at the threshold of stardom.
For Darya, reaching the Olympics itself is the realisation of a childhood dream. However, Darya began her sporting life as a volleyball player; it was her speed on the track at school sports day that impressed the coaches, who persuaded Darya to pursue a career in Athletics.
Darya told us: “My parents never put pressure on me to choose a specific sport; they left it for me to decide. I fell in love with Athletics, because of the individual nature of the sport. I prefer training on my own…and winning on my own. It was a lot more satisfying. I think I am a lone wolf!”
Darya had a disappointing showing in the 2011 World Athletics Championships in Daegu, finishing a distant 8th with a jump of 6.50 metres. However, Darya’s form has been much better of late and she will be going to London with improving on her personal best of 7.05 metres.
Darya says: “When I jumped 7 metres, it felt extremely natural. It was definitely a shock, but it was a lovely surprise and made all the long hours of training worthwhile. I think achieving that distance made me feel at home on the global stage, it gave me confidence going into competitions. When I go to events, I know that I am capable of jumping a long way and challenging any distance that someone else may jump. As a long jumper, I have always targeted 7 metres, but I will not stop now that I have achieved it, it is just the start for me. I want to jump a lot further. And I hope that I can!”
Darya’s coach, Olga Shemigon, has been training Darya since 2004 and is full of praise for the Russian starlet. Olga tells us: “Jumping such a long way really made people sit up and take notice of her. Russia has such a great tradition in the sport, so breaking the National Junior record was a major achievement. She was also extremely close to bettering Heike Dreschler’s World Junior Record…and that would have been phenomenal. To jump 7 metres, you have to be the very best”
Darya is becoming as well known for her beauty as her athletic ability and already she has several lucrative endorsements and modelling contracts. However, she is very quick to emphasise her priorities: ““Athletics is my life, everything I do centres around the sport and ensuring I am in the best shape when I need to be. This is not just my passion, but also how I make my living. I always say that my legs feed me and pay my bills! The best thing about it though it that I always have fun, because I’m so lucky to do a job that I love. “
So with the Olympics only a few weeks away, Darya stands ready to ascend to a new level in her Athletics career. As she says herself: “For me the Olympics are not a dream, but a target…something that I am aiming for and focussing on. For the London Olympics, I will be performing to the best of my ability and I hope that things will go well and I will become a champion.”