Olympic star im­pressed with UAE’s am­bi­tions

Sport360 - - 15 MIN­UTES WITH - Hiba Khan @Hiba_Khant hi­[email protected]

Mar­garita ‘Rita’ Ma­mun, dubbed ‘the Ben­gal tiger’ for her Bangladeshi her­itage, left the judges and the world in com­plete awe with her stel­lar per­for­mance at the Rio 2016 Olympics for rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics.

The 21-year-old Rus­sian be­came an Olympic cham­pion and re­cently vis­ited the UAE as a spe­cial guest for the 1st In­ter­na­tional Emi­rates Cup held in Dubai on 12th May 2017.

Dur­ing her visit, she sat down with Sport360° to talk about her views on the Emi­rati rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics scene and fu­ture as­pi­ra­tions.

What did you think of the first Emi­rates Cup?

It is re­ally amaz­ing to see an event of this level in the UAE that pro­vides a plat­form for rhyth­mic gym­nasts to show­case and hone their tal­ent. We def­i­nitely need more com­pe­ti­tions and tour­na­ments like th­ese to pre­pare the gym­nasts to help im­prove their per­for­mance and sup­port them.

What do you think of the rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics scene in Dubai and its scope?

It seems that gym­nas­tics is grow­ing rapidly in the UAE and af­ter watch­ing the per­for­mance of the Emi­rati and Arab girls in this com­pe­ti­tion, I feel that they have great po­ten­tial. They are very artis­tic, beau­ti­ful, lean and el­e­gant, and they have a lot of grace. So they def­i­nitely have a very good fu­ture in rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics for them. Since it is a very new sport in the coun­try, there is def­i­nitely a lot of room for growth for the sport in the re­gion.

What has been the most chal­leng­ing as­pect of your ca­reer?

For me, the most chal­leng­ing as­pect of my ca­reer has been the preparation for the Olympics be­cause it was not train­ing for a cou­ple of weeks or months, but it was a full four-year jour­ney for me. I was go­ing from one com­pe­ti­tion to an­other; go­ing from a smaller grand prix to an­other world cham­pi­onship. So train­ing for it was very hard and I had to work hard con­sis­tently to reach my goal.

What do you think of Lamia Tariq Al Farsi, who won the first Emi­rates Cup?

She is an ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful and tal­ented girl, and her win­ning an in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion like this is tes­ta­ment to that. I feel that Lamia has a great fu­ture ahead of her; I was just seven years old when I started do­ing rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics, whereas Lamia (r) started when she was five and now she is six and she has al­ready won such a pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion. Be­ing able to win a tour­na­ment like this shows that the girl has proved her met­tle. I also wish her all the best be­cause she is re­ally very tal­ented and I am sure she has great things wait­ing for her in the fu­ture.

How has your life changed since win­ning the Olympics?

Of course, as an Olympic cham­pion, I am now rep­re­sent­ing my coun­try wher­ever I go. I have to travel around the world and peo­ple know me and look up to me. So now af­ter win­ning such a pres­ti­gious cham­pi­onship, I am not just Mar­garita Ma­mun, but I have to act as a proper am­bas­sador for the sport and also for my coun­try. I want peo­ple to see me and realise that dreams do come true, but only if we work re­ally hard for them.

What are your fu­ture plans?

My fu­ture plans is just to keep train­ing, I haven’t quit the sport yet and I am still part of the Rus­sian na­tional team. I have just taken a break af­ter the Olympics as I was nurs­ing a back in­jury and I was in the re­cov­ery pe­riod.

But I will get back to train­ing and the next goal I am aim­ing for is my sec­ond Olympics at Tokyo 2020.

How do you stay fit and what is your diet like?

As a gym­nast, we are al­ways train­ing so our sched­ule pretty much re­volves around prac­tis­ing all the time. Our diet in­volves hav­ing the right bal­ance of all the nu­tri­ents, drink­ing plenty of wa­ter, and tak­ing am­ple amount of rest. Of course when I am train­ing for the Olympics, my diet and train­ing regime is re­ally in­tense, but for now I am just tak­ing it easy.

There is noth­ing re­ally that I strictly avoid eat­ing, I just try to eat more meat and fish to build mus­cle, in­stead of foods like pasta and rice. I just try to main­tain a very healthy life­style.

What ad­vice would you give to young girls who are pur­su­ing rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics?

In or­der for girls to be able to cope with the pres­sures of this sport, they re­ally need to love and be­lieve in what they are do­ing.

Rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics is very chal­leng­ing and most peo­ple can­not han­dle the stress, so you re­ally need to fo­cus on your goal and move ahead with con­vic­tion and never give up.

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