Very soon, in spring 2015 Khanty-Mansiysk will host the unique sport event. On their home Deaflympics athletes from Ugra will be participating in 2 disciplines: five athletes will compete for medals in cross-country skiing and there will be only one representative of Ugra in snowboarding – Maria Podorovskaya. These days Maria is having her training session outside of the region, so she was not able to give us an interview, that’s why we have asked her mother and coach – Natalia Podorovskaya – to tell us more about the athlete.
– Natalia, this is a big achievement that your daughter is participating in the competitions of the last four years. Tell us, how did Maria come into snowboarding?
– Masha was an active and positive person since her childhood. We decided that it would be better if she turned her energy into sport, first we tried swimming, however, daughter stayed there only for a short while, so when Masha was 8, we decided to try alpine skiing. She liked this sport very much and for several years she was training with great pleasure and interest. I am a coach in snowboarding, so, of cause, I have proposed Masha to try snowboard but she refused saying this seamed to be too difficult. The thing is that she is not only deaf and unable to speak but when she was a child she had a diagnosis of infantile cerebral paralysis. We have been under medical treatment for a long time and this brought positive results. Coming back to sport, when Masha became familiar with two-point gliding, she decided she was not ready to rest. When I was away with my team for competitions with a help of her dad she had prepared a surprise for me. They were planning this for 3 weeks! I must confess, I expected everything – some handcrafted thing, a performance – but I was not able to imagine that she would learn how to snowboard when I was away!
– Snowboarding is an expensive sport; a support is needed if you want to reach a high level in it. Tell us, who has helped Maria to develop her skills and talents?
– When snowboarding became not only a hobby but a systematic training, Masha has started to participate in regional competitions for healthy athletes. Then I got acquainted with the director of the Centre of Adaptive Sports of Ugra Eduard Isakov, who at that time became also interested in snowboarding and I have asked him if Masha could compete with the deaf athletes. Eduard Vladimirovich met us halfway: Deaflympic snowboarding division has just opened in the Centre of Adaptive Sports, my daughter was included into the Ugra snowboarding team and started to take part in national competitions. Since then, Masha started to get support, she got part-time job as a professional athlete and an instructor, then when her results became better, she got full-time position and was equipped with everything needed for training. Of cause, not everything was smooth, however, Eduard Vladimirovich was always supporting us. We are very grateful for his guidance and help through all the difficulties and hesitations.
– After what competitions it became clear that Masha is included in the national snowboarding team?
– It was in 2010 after the National Championships in Shukolovo, Moscow region. There she got 2 medals: gold in parallel giant slalom and silver in parallel slalom.
– How was the summer training session before the Deaflympic season? Did you change the training system?
– For the pre-season training we have reconsidered the number of trainings on snow. Thanks to the Government of Ugra and the Centre of Adaptive Sports, Maria had a good pre-season training abroad: she spent July in France and October and November in Austria. Now a great importance is given to training on snow, learning how to pass the courses of the Deaflympic disciplines Masha is going to participate in, i.e. parallel slalom and giant slalom.
– Are there different types of boards in snowboarding, what is the difference between them? How many boards does Masha have? Are there “lucky” ones between them?
– Of cause. A smaller board makes an athlete more maneuverable, which is important for slalom. Boards for giant slalom are bigger, so they are making possible to move at a higher speed. Masha has 2 boards. Every athlete respects his sport equipment, so every board is lucky in its own way for Masha.
– Natalia, tell us, who do you think are going to compete for the medals in snowboarding on the Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk?
– On the last world championships the team of Russia were the leaders of the medal count. This means that the competition in our national team is very tough. I suppose teams of Russia and Finland will be the leaders in alpine disciplines, as for acrobatic disciplines, here Japan is a stick-out.
– Not much time is left before the start of the Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk. Do you have some training sessions and competitions planned for this period?
– In January Masha will go to St. Petersburg region with the national team of Russia, then the team is having a training session in Ugra capital and a final part of the preparation process will take place in Shukolovo, near Moscow.
– You have a very busy schedule. New Year holidays are coming. How are you going to celebrate it? Are you planning to make a wish?
– Masha will come to Khanty-Mansiysk and we will celebrate the New Year with our family and friends. And, of cause, like many people of Russia we will make a wish while the clock is striking twelve.
Let us wish Maria a successful preparation for these important competitions. We are also wishing her happy New Year 2015 and congratulating on the International Snowboarding Day!