15-year-old swimmer Anastasiya Shkurdai won two medals at the Junior Olympics in Buenos Aires. That is, certainly, a success, because her competitors were two or even three years older.
Anastasia is the second hero of the heading «The medalist responds», which was started by judoist Artsiom Kolasau.
I got into swimming by chance. My grandmother once called and offered to go to the pool after school. We came, my grandmother swam towards the center of the pool and told me not to follow her – it is deeper and thus dangerous there. I swam further anyway. On our way out, the coach Victoria Astakhova noticed me and invited me to come to try to get in team.
My first coach was Olga Yasenovich. We are still working with her.
I live with my parents in Brest, I study in Olympic training school. My 19-year-old brother Nikita is studying in Minsk. We have a dog and a cat. And also grandparents.
Dad and I love to watch football together. During the last World Championship we were supported Russia.
Five or six years ago, an incident has happened. We were trained to swim crawl. I manage to swim a couple of meters without stopping and with breathing. Coach showed me «well-done» sign from the pool side! She probably does not remember this, but I was very inspired by her approval.
Everything happens for a reason. If I got into the sport, then this is my destiny. So the God decided that this is my place. For me, swimming is both work and destiny. It means everything to me: I can earn money and help my parents and brother. This is my life.
Buenos Aires Games has become a good rehearsal for the adult Olympics. I am going to qualify for Tokyo-2020 and continue to participate in the Olympics. This time I had an opportunity to look how everything is going on, got some experience. I think next time I won’t worry as much.
There are no easy victories and easy medals. There is always someone to impose competition. Swedes, Chinese women are all strong competitors.
I would like to become an Olympic champion. And later – a coach and educate good athletes.
Grandfather teaches me how to play the guitar. It is a pity that I have only a little time for this, I try to learn something if I have time and inclination to. I can play «Tsyhanochka» for example.
There are never too many good close friends. I can call my swimming team like that. If I see a person does not suit me, I won’t be begging for friendship.
Recently I’ve read Wendy Hilling’s book «My Life in His Paws» about a person with «butterfly» disease – when every touch leaves large wounds on the body. It tells about dogs that helped the main character to survive, these dogs are able to start a washing machine or pay off in the store. I really liked it.
I love animals. I have a cat and a dog, but I would not have more pets at home. I notice that there is not enough time even for two of them. When you treat one of them, the second is jealous.
My idols in swimming are Sarah Sjostrom and Michael Phelps. They work very hard. Everyone wants to win medals, but not everyone is ready to work as they do.
My parents are the most credible people for me. They do everything right and can always help and suggest how something is should be done.
I advice young swimmers not to give up, work hard, never lose heart and wait for better results to come. For many it is common to reach them at the age of 18 or a bit later. We must endeavor, work and endure. There is no such thing that you work a lot and it does not pay off.
At training session, I say to myself: «Exert yourself now, and you will get along later».
Photo: NOC Belarus, NOC Cuba, Dzianis Kastsiuchenka