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Mariia has been competing on the international level as a member of the Ukrainian national team since 2016. She has already collected many youth and junior medals from world and European championships.
Last year at the Worlds in Tashkent, she showed a great result with bronze in the snatch and 4th place in total. This year, Mariia competed in a heavier weight class – 64 kg – and made even greater progress at the Europeans in Albania.
Mariia went 6-for-6 and became a European champion for the first time, showing a serious result:
Snatch – 102 kg, GOLD
C&J – 120 kg, BRONZE
Total – 222 kg, GOLD
We asked Mariia about her sports career, performance in Tirana, training loads, and dreams.
- Why have you switched the weight class? Do you feel comfortable and confident there?
It was a common decision with my personal coach to go up. We did that in order to improve me as an athlete and show a decent result in the new weight class. I can say that I do feel more comfortable and confident in the 64 kg weight class, compared to the 59 kg.
- You completed all 6 attempts very easily at the Europeans. Could you lift more and if yes, how much?
I think we could add a few more kilos in the clean & jerk. Perhaps, I could have lifted 123 kg if my coach had said that.
- The preparation for the previous championship was interrupted by the war in Ukraine. Tell us how it was.
It was hard preparation both physically and mentally. We had little time to prepare properly. But we managed to lift great kilograms and even win these Europeans. Perhaps, the stress made us mobilize all our inner resources and show our best.
- What is weightlifting for you? What place does it take in your life?
Weightlifting is already my lifestyle. It is my priority. It has taught me to find the motivation inside and reach my goals.
Also, this sport showed me lots of great people. It is especially important for me!
- What do you say to those who state that weightlifting is not a female sport?
I think only people who have nothing to do with sport and don’t understand the meaning of it can say that. In my opinion, female weightlifting looks very impressive and beautiful.
- Your coach is one of the best in the whole history of Ukrainian weightlifting. Tell us how you two work together: how he helps you win and make progress.
My coach Valeriy Nikulin is one of the best experts in Ukraine. He is a person I respect and love very much!!!
We have been working for 9 years. Frankly, it’s difficult to train with him. As a coach, he is rough and demanding to all athletes. There have been moments of disagreement and I even wanted to quit everything. Yet, as an experienced weightlifter, I understand that there is no other way to gain huge kilograms.
But despite all the arguments and scandals, we manage to find common ground and make progress. Valeriy Nikulin gives me the motivation to keep going, show serious results, and win.
- Tell us about your training regime in general.
My training regime is rather simple. It is 11 sessions a week: two workouts on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; one workout on Thursday + massage; one workout + sauna and pool on Saturday, and one workout on Sunday.
- What are your favorite exercises and why? What ‘weaknesses’ do you have and how do you work on them?
My favorite exercises are the snatch, the muscle snatch, and the clean. The jerk has always been my weakness. I have lost many competitions because I couldn’t jerk. Together with the coach, we work and improve it. We focus on it all the time and do exercises to hone and step up the dip, drive, and catch phases.
- Your best snatch, clean & jerk, and squat?
Snatch – 105 kg
C&J – 125 kg
Front squat – 150 kg
Back squat – 170 kg
- What do you dream about?
I guess I dream of the same thing as any other professional athlete – an Olympic medal.