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2011 Best Lifter of the Year, Svetlana Tsarukaeva

The road to victory

Svetlana Tsarukaeva has set a World Record while lifting the gold medal in the women’s 63kg bodyweight category at the 2011 IWF World Championships Paris, France. Tsarukaeva’s Snatch of 117kg beat the previous mark of 116kg, set by Pawina Thongsuk of Thailand back in 2005.

Her World Record of 117 kg helped to remember another unforgettable moment of Tsarukaeva, made her so disappointed three years ago in Beijing. As a silver medallist of the previous two World Championships in 2006 (58kg), 2007 (63kg) she was one of the favorites in the women’s 63kg final, but she failed in her final attempt to snatch 107kg. Clasping her head in her hands, she left the stage in Beijing with an inconsolable sadness.

A year later she became a silver medallist at the Goyang World Championships for the third time (2009). Svetlana was very hungry for her first victory. The 24-year-old Tsarukaeva (born 25 December 1987) lifted 138kg in the clean and jerk and ended up with a Total of 255kg in Paris.

“My journey to this victory was very long. I was always close, but lacked some kilos or my own extra grams,” Tsarukaeva said. “This time it all worked out well. I’m full of emotions. At this time all was well-developed. At last the luck was on my side. I realized that if not today, then perhaps I’ll never do this.”

“In 2011 my career reached its peak as I became a European, Russian and later World Champion as well and World Record holder. I did exactly what I wanted to realize at the beginning of 2011.My motivation was extremely strong.”

Q: Though you have the knowledge which could lead to victory; do you plan any changes during your preparations to the London Olympics?

A: I know my weak points and my coach, Kazbek Zoloev (48 years old) helps me a lot to reach my final goal step by step. The day after winning the gold medal I was aware of the fact I have to develop my performance otherwise my rival will overtake. I must be as perfect as possible in London. It is not an easy task; especially taking into consideration that I also have another obligation: to prepare my thesis on athletes’ recovery after top performances.

Q: If you are an expert in this topic, would you recall how you recovered after the World Championships?

A: The pressure was really almost unbearable. I missed my family and my school friends in Vladikavkaz and of course the best way to return to normal life was to meet them as frequently as I could.

Q: Are there any more weightlifters in your family or among your schoolmates?

A: No, unfortunately not. My grandmother used to be a sprint runner and my brother practiced free style wrestling. I started my training as an arm-wrestler and as we shared our training hall with weightlifters, their world attracted me more so I switched over to weightlifting. But I will never forget my first sport, as my coach Kazbek Zoloev is a multiple arm-wrestling World Champion.