BACK IN THE USSR
Tell me about your background – where are you from originally and what was it like?
I was born in 1976 in Kazakhstan when it was part of the largest country on Earth – the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, or Soviet Union, or USSR. Back then it was common for kids to have some afterschool activities which were free of charge, as were education and medicine. When I was 11 a girl from my mother’s class – my mother was a Russian language and literature teacher at school where I studied as well – offered to try shooting. I didn’t even know that such a sport existed and at first thought that it was an archery because in Russian archery is “shooting with a bow”. So, I was very surprised when I saw a real pistol. But back then I dreamed of becoming a detective and though that all detectives must be able to shoot. With years this dream disappeared but my love for shooting remained.
Were your parents or other family members into sport?
None of my relatives were involved in any sport but my grandfather was a sniper in World War II and may be some genes transferred to me. In 1992, the USSR collapsed and in 1993, a new Kazakh national shooting team was created, and I became part of it. As a Kazakh citizen I won several medals in the Asian Games, Asian championships, and took out sixth place in the Olympic Games in Sydney. In 1996, I married our national team coach Anatoly Babushkin (pictured left).