Doha, 3 May 2017. This Friday, May 5, the world’s biggest athletics stars are going to compete at the opening meeting of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League season in Doha. In cooperation with the Diamond League and the Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF), Aspire Academy had the unique opportunity to welcome some of these successful athletes to the Academy to share their wisdom with the student-athletes.
Katerina Stefanidi, Greek Pole Vaulter and 2016 Olympic Champion; Kim Collins, track and field sprinter from Saint Kitts and Nevis and former World Champion in the 100 m and Veronica Campbell-Brown, Jamaican sprinter and eight-time Olympic medallist, took the time participate in a Q&A session under the motto “Optimism and high performing behaviour” in the Academy’s auditorium and shared some interested insights into their careers and answered questions coming from the curious student-athletes.
“First, you have to be fit in whatever you do”, Collins commented about the fact that the 41-year-old is still competing at the highest level. He admitted that he had faced tough situations in his career that almost made him quit. “I wanted to retire and already did an IAAF course to become a track and field coach. There I realized what I had done wrong on the track and was able to use this knowledge to come back and become faster. In the end it’s really about yourself, your determination and the work you put into it.”
“The key is to have a positive mind, because life consists of ups and downs. But whatever happens, don’t think it’s unique, because we all have to deal with tough situations from time to time”, Campbell-Brown added and Stefanidi said that experiencing failures are even necessary for success. “It makes no difference if we talk about sports, job or life in general. There are always good and bad days. You have to pass by the hard times in order to be able to experience great ones too.”
Being asked about their inspirations, Campbell-Brown focused on the important people who have been with her throughout her careers. “There is a group of people that have been influential in my career. My primary school coach, my high school coach, my manager and others. The key is to have a group of people, who love you and who have your best interest in mind. They have to be honest with you and also push you, because sometimes you get lazy and then you need somebody who knows about your potential and helps you to live up to it.” Stefanidi said that she never wanted to look up to someone as inspiration. “I wanted to create my own story and become an inspiration for others.” And Collins concluded the Q&A saying: “My competitors inspired me, because if you want to be the best, you cannot accept defeat.”
On behalf of Aspire Academy, Prof. Tim Cable, Director of Sports Science, thanked the athletes, the Diamond League and QAF for their contribution to this event. “We really appreciate that you took the time. It has been great having you here and that you inspired our young athletes for their future careers.”
The Q&A session was followed by a clinic at the Indoor Track of Aspire Dome featuring Kim Collins, German Javelin thrower and Olympic Champion Thomas Röhler and British long-distance runner Andrew Butchard.