Anastasia VALOVA:

"My boyfriend Misha secretly flew to Morocco without telling me"

World champion 2015 in weight category under 56 kg among women
1. Please recall and describe the emotions you felt when you became a world SAMBO champion in 2015.

"Honestly, I couldn't believe it. This was my second world championship. In 2012, I was third, and I was really upset. But we'd been preparing all year, we traveled to tournaments each month and trained hard... When I stood on the podium and they played the Russian national anthem, I felt really happy. Dreams do come true!"

2. How did they congratulate you? What do you remember most?

"Everyone congratulated me, even people who didn't know much about the sport... Friends, acquaintances and SAMBO fans from different countries. The telephone rang off the hook. My whole family watched the online broadcasts of the competitions on the FIAS website, and within half an hour after I won, I was flooded with congratulations. It was so great!

My mother was first, of course. She's a coach, and she flew there to second me. The most unexpected and pleasant event was when my boyfriend Misha secretly flew to Morocco without telling me. He wanted to support me at that critical moment, but I saw him only after the final. He had to hide the whole time, so as not to distract me from the fight. It was so unexpected and pleasant... It was maximum happy!"

3. How has your life changed in the year since the last world championships? Does the status of the world SAMBO champion help you in sports and in everyday life?

"What's changed? After the World Championships, I was awarded the title of Honored Master of Sports, but generally, everything is the same as before: we train and we're not ready to rest. While there's strength and will, we want to make the most of it."
Cheer for our team. Your support means a lot to us, and we'll try to make you happy by winning!
4. Where do you keep your gold medal? How important is it for you?

"My medal is stored at my grandmother's place, like all my awards. She's my most devoted fan. So I send all my trophies from major competitions to her apartment."

5. Will you participate in the 2016 World SAMBO Championships in Bulgaria? If yes, how is your training going?

"Yes, I'm training and planning to compete in the World Championships in Sofia. Right now, there's a training camp for the championships going on in Kstovo, and before this I also trained hard in Moscow at the Central Army Sports Club and Specialized Children's and Youth Sports School of the Olympic Reserve 9."

6. What qualities do you need to become a world SAMBO champion?

"I think you have to be a workaholic and committed. Never give up and don't be discouraged, because often before big wins there are a number of difficulties to overcome. You have to believe in yourself and constantly improve in order to be the best."

7. What would you like to say to your fans? And to your opponents?

"I'd like to tell the fans: watch this championship, because it promises to be colorful and exciting. And cheer for our team. Your support means a lot to us, and we'll try to make you happy by winning!

I'd also like to wish my opponents success and fair fights."
Read the interviews with the other champions here:
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