Dreams come true

<img class="imgl" alt="" src="http://www.belarus-magazine.by/belen/data/upimages/2009/0001-009-434.jpg">[b]Most Belarusians assert that Darya Domracheva is our star and that they always believed in her[/b]<br />Everyone likes heroes… or pretends that they do. Dasha is a real hero, having endure much over the last week: failure in the sprint, then triumph in the pursuit and individual races, before her final confirmation as the world’s leading female biathlete following her mass-start victory. Domracheva is now a household name around the globe but she remains down to Earth, cheery and modest.
Most Belarusians assert that Darya Domracheva is our star and that they always believed in her

Everyone likes heroes… or pretends that they do. Dasha is a real hero, having endure much over the last week: failure in the sprint, then triumph in the pursuit and individual races, before her final confirmation as the world’s leading female biathlete following her mass-start victory. Domracheva is now a household name around the globe but she remains down to Earth, cheery and modest.
Every day, Dasha’s life changes a little more, pursued by photographers and fans. Everyone wants something from her: an autograph, a smile of recognition, or a photograph. Even security guards bend the rules.

Dasha, did you find the attention overwhelming?
It could have been so, but I actually felt spurred on to greater heights as the attention gathered. I became increasingly motivated. Once you’ve won one title, you feel better able to fight for the second, and then third. There’s always more to be achieved in sport.

You must be delighted to be ‘sharing’ your medal joy with Nadezhda.
It’s tremendous! We’ve long dreamt of this. I waited for Skardino in the finish zone, mentally skiing with her for the last kilometre. Eventually, feeling frozen, I went to change my clothes, believing that Nadya would manage to stay among the top three. Of course, my wishes came true!

You’ve managed to keep a modest outlook, despite such amazing victory.
I haven’t achieved anything special. I simply controlled my nerves and believed in myself, which led to my winning.

Most are viewing your victories as Fate: a just reward after such problems with your marksmanship in the past. How many misses have you endured in the prone position?
The World Championship 2013, in Czech Novй Město, was really tricky for me. Luckily, this was a while year before the Sochi Games. I’m now grateful to the Czech World Championship for teaching me a lesson! It made me aware of my weaknesses and I realised that my prone shooting needed a lot of work. In the inter-season period, there was much debate over how to solve this and, at the suggestion of Andrian Tsybulsky, we consulted a whole board of marksmanship experts. Among them was Olympic champion Sergey Martynov – and this really got the ball rolling.

Nadya Skardino doesn’t need advisers, being able to hit a squirrel’s eye without their help. Her medal is special and I’m delighted for her: moved to tears. Her example is a good lesson for others. Hard work and diligence led to the Olympic podium, as well as her exact shooting. Ms. Skardino shares her thoughts…

The 15km individual is your strength.
Yes. My teachers are constantly reminding me of this - telling me to push myself to the limit – as if fighting to the last. As long as I don’t miss any targets, I have a chance of winning.

How did you cope with the psychological pressure of competing?
You know, I was so nervous that I became frightened. My marksmanship in the practise run was so terrible that coach Klaus was shocked. Zibych tried to calm me, but I know him too well. Klaus hadn’t realised how nervous I was. I was trembling with fear at the first range and missed five times out of five. I steeled myself for the actual race and gave 100 percent: probably 120 percent!

Did you want to dance on the finish line?
I rather felt that I needed to lie down – to avoid dying standing up!

Was your laser eye surgery, conducted in spring 2012, an option or a necessity?
I think a necessity; when my eyes were straining in the sunshine, fog or under artificial illumination, I could barely see a thing. I had no alternative. If I wanted to continue my sporting career, I had to have the operation.

You dreamt of claiming a medal alongside Dasha in the individual race…
Yes, that`s right. Hurrah! Our dream came true. Dasha sincerely congratulated me and I’m delighted for her.

The Russian press is disappointed by its own national team’s biathlon performance and is surprised that your potential, wasn’t recognised earlier.
Everything is simple: when I was living in St. Petersburg, aged 19, I was just skiing, and seldom performed above regional level. I began to lose interest and motivation. I thought about giving up altogether. However, I was training alongside Belarusian biathletes and their coach encouraged me to try rifle shooting. I knew immediately that it was my calling.

By Sergey Kanashits
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