Athlete of the Month – March 2013

DSC_0650
Name: Stanimir Belomazhev
Country: Bulgaria
Discipline: Ski orienteering
Career highlights:
European Ski Orienteering Championships: Gold in sprint in 2012; Junior Wold Ski Orienteering Championships: Gold on middle distance in 2008, Gold on long distance in 2008.

It is no wonder that European Ski Orienteering Champion Stanimir Belomazhev is so successful: he has been skiing almost as long as he has been walking. “I have been skiing since 1990. My father put me on skis when I was 2 years old”, Stanimir tells.

Stanimir’s mother and father competed in ski orienteering and foot orienteering and his sister still competes, too. Actually, she was Stanimir’s team mate in the Mixed Relay at the European Championships in Latvia.

From skiing to ski orienteering

“As child my number one sport was cross-country skiing. Now I am still competing in cross-country skiing in Bulgaria but today my priority is ski orienteering. This is the sport I love. Ski orienteering is very challenging, interesting and physically demanding sport and that’s why I like it so much”, Stanimir says, and continues: “It was in 2005 when I became European Youth Champion in Switzerland that I started to believe I could become one of the very best.”

And one of the very best he has become. He currently leads the Ski Orienteering World Ranking, and he finished second on the Ski-O Tour earlier this year. The European Championships 2013 in Latvia, Madona, did not start very well for Stanimir: “I was tired from travel because we came to Latvia the day before Mixed Relay. That’s why my middle distance race did not go as well as it should have. I felt better when getting to long distance and I started very well, but an incident on a forest track with another competitor resulted in a broken pole and a broken ski. I got new equipment quite soon but I lost too much time there.”

But then he made the headlines on 18 February 2013, when winning a sensational gold for Bulgaria at the European Ski Orienteering Championships sprint in Madona, Latvia.

“I felt amazing. This was my life-long dream and I managed to achieve it!”

EM i skiorientering Madona i Latvia Lørdag 16. februar 2013 Sprint
Sprint is Stanimir’s favourite format: “I like it because it’s very dynamic and allows high speed.”
Photo: Erik Borg

 

Good preparations for this year

When asked how come he has been so successful this season, Stanimir replies: “I had prepared very well for this season, and I have good support from several instances. The Bulgarian Ministry of Sport supported my training camps in Ramsau in the autumn and later in the Scandinavian countries. I would like to say a special thanks to Hans Jorgen Kvåle for organising a perfect training camp there. I spent one month training with Norway’s ski orienteering team. I have also got support from Salomon and One Way for this season. Also my father is always helping me and he makes sure my skis are perfect before each competition.”

Stanimir is a last year student at The National Sports Academy. “I should graduate this spring and after that I must choose a master’s degree programme to continue my education. “

In the World Ski Orienteering Championships in Kazakhstan next week, Stanimir’s goal is a medal. But it won’t be easy to achieve: “Everyone in the top 15 of the World Ranking is my competitor in Kazakhstan”, Stanimir says. However, looking at the absolute top of the World Ranking, we think that Stanimir’s goal is very appropriate, and perhaps even a bit too modest!

The athletes’ questions

Jerker Lysell, our Athlete of February, asked Stanimir: If you have to decide: What do you prefer: A Norwegian man takes the gold before you or a Swede – and why do you choose as you do?

“I will choose a Norwegian because I have really good friends from that team and I would be happy for them just like they for me when I took a gold medal in sprint distance at The European Championships in Latvia.”

Our Athlete of April will be MTB orienteer Davide Machado from Portugal. Here is Stanimir’s question to him: Do you have other sports passion except MTB orienteering?

You will hear Davide’s answer and more in the beginning of April.

 

Previous Athletes of the Month

2013

January 2013 Staffan Tunis (FIN)
February 2013 Jerker Lysell (SWE)

2012

January 2012 Alison Crocker (USA)
February 2012 Morihiro Horie (JPN)
March 2012 Polina Malchikova (RUS)
April 2012 Ionut Zinca (ROU)
May 2012 Tobias Breitschädel (AUT)
June 2012 Ivo Tišljar (CRO)
July 2012 Matthias Kyburz (SUI)
August 2012 Marika Hara (FIN)
September 2012 Lizzie Ingham (NZL)
October 2012 Tonis Erm (EST)
November 2012 Marit Wiksell (SWE)
December 2012 Tatiana Ryabkina (RUS)

2011

February 2011 Olga Novikova (KAZ)
March 2011 Olli-Markus Taivainen (FIN)
April 2011 Emily Benham (GBR)
May 2011 Søren Saxtorph (DEN)
June 2011 Tove Alexandersson (SWE)
July 2011 Olav Lundanes (NOR)
August 2011 Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA)
September 2011 Erik Skovgaard Knudsen (DEN)
October 2011 Lauri Kontkanen (FIN)
November 2011 Annika Billstam (SWE)
December 2011 Anna Füzy (HUN)

 

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