Heptathlon star overcomes tragedy to seek gold

Dobrynska promises to dedicate win to late husband.

Afp July 19, 2012


The 2008 Olympic heptathlon champion Nataliya Dobrynska, the main rival to British star Jessica Ennis, is making her quest for gold in London just months after the tragic death from cancer of her husband and coach.

On March 9, the 30-year-old Dobrynska danced for joy in the floodlights of Istanbul arena, celebrating her world indoor title. But just 15 days later, her husband Dmitry Polyakov, who was also her personal coach, died of an aggravating cancer at the age of 47.

“He didn’t want anybody to know about his illness except the people closest to him and we kept it secret,” said Dobrynska. “He was a strong man and didn’t want to be the object of anyone’s pity. I want to dedicate my last win at the world championships in Istanbul to him. He was happy with my victory there and regretted that he couldn’t lead me into the London Games.”

Dobrynska said that despite her husband’s death she has carried out intense preparations for the 2012 Olympics.

“I will do everything that depends on me to win a medal in London. It will be the best possible tribute to the memory of my husband.”

French sprinter hoping to be the Olympics master

Meanwhile, Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre is hoping he can gatecrash the expected Jamaican and American hold over the sprints at the Olympics.

The 22-year-old two-time European 100 metres champion and 2010 200m winner has yet to decide whether he will compete in both sprint distances or focus solely on the 200m. However, he gave a clear hint after running the third fastest time of the year in the event of 19.91 in the 200m at last weekend’s London Diamond League meet.

“Normally I will run the 200m,” said Lemaitre. “I will probably give the 100m a miss. Unless there’s a change of plan where my coach is eager to put me into the mix. Maybe at the next Games I will do both.”

Lemaitre will go to London without the pressure of being the man to beat in either sprint but even if he was he says he showed in the Helsinki meet that he can handle it.

“It proves that despite the pressure of being favourite, despite the pressure triggered by the false starts, I remained focussed, I managed to remain myself.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2012.


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