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Kamelia Dounavska - proud with the performance of Greece during the World Championship in Kalamata

29 March 2010 / 16:03:59  GRReporter
6173 reads

Emanuela Karastoyanova

Minutes after the end of World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship, held between March 26 and 28 in Kalamata, GRReporter talked to the coach of the Greek national team, one of the former "golden girls" of Bulgaria - Kamelia Dounavska. Despite her intense program Mrs. Dounavska agreed to share with us her feelings for the team, which this year ranked 4th in hoops 5th in rope and ribbon. Here's what she shared: 

GRREPORTER: Are you satisfied with how the girls did? 

Kamelia Dounavska: Yes, at this stage I'm pleased. 

GRREPORTER: How does it feel to coach a national gymnastics team? Huge responsibility? Excitement? 

Kamelia Dounavska: Both. First it is a huge load, then it is exciting, but I like both. I like sitting in the gym and working. There I feel I am in my own waters. 

GRREPORTER: There you are yourself... 

Kamelia Dounavska: Yes. This tension raises my adrenaline, which I also like very much. 

 GRREPORTER: Which is your happiest moment in your career as a coach? 

Kamelia Dounavska: There are many good and bad moments. Ever since I stopped actively competing I am in the hall.  The best moments are during competitions, when the children do their exercises well. This is a satisfaction no matter where they rank. Today I was extremely proud of the hoops routine, because I know how much effort we put in it. The children showed very good routines. 

GRREPORTER: How long do you work on a routine for a World Championship like this one? 

Kamelia Dounavska: These routines I've done last year in October and November. We will do them all season. This repetition of the same elements, parts and routines is a bit boring. But all year-round we will be repeating the same routines so we can make it better. I don’t want to push it but must get close to perfect. 

GRREPORTER: As I understand a routine is worked on for roughly one year... 

Kamelia Dounavska: Yes. Italy has been performing the same routine for two years. There are other teams that always come with the same routine out of two possible. Some have not changed anything. 

GRREPORTER: So one routine can be played in two Championships? 

Kamelia Dounavska: Yes, of course. You can perform it even for two years if you want, but personally I do not welcome this option, because it gets boring and I believe every team claiming better rankings should show something new every year. 

GRREPORTER: How exactly did you decide to come to Greece to become a coach of the Greek national team? 

Kamelia Dounavska: It happened randomly and very fast. I came here last year in April to help the team, because it was left without a coach. We worked together for three months for the World Championship and after that I decided to stay. I liked it. They are quite enthusiastic. 

GRREPORTER: What is the challenge to coach in Greece? What makes your work different here? If there is any difference at all... 

Kamelia Dounavska: There are differences, of course. First, for me it is a challenge that I am working with a national team. Until now in Bulgaria I have never worked as a coach with national team ensemble. It is a big responsibility and for me this is a challenge. But it is more difficult. They are people with different mentality. They work on impulses because they are not so constant and they are poorly organized. 

GRREPORTER: Probably because you transmit your motivation, this is why they assess you positively... 

Kamelia Dounavska: Yes. I hope after their performance today they will believe a little more in themselves. Unfortunately, last year they did not perform that well. As a country Greece lost its position in world gymnastics, but this year we hope little by little, step by step to move forward. 

GRREPORTER: You are the generation of the so-called "golden girls". What are your memories of those times and what did the old school give you? 

Kamelia Dounavska: It gave me everything. My life has evolved thanks to what happened in my childhood. Things would have probably gone in another direction if I had not fallen into the hands of Neshka and if I did not have the success I did. 

GRREPORTER: I understand that this was a very strong start. 

Kamelia Dounavska: Yes. But not only in professional sense, but in general it was a very strong start. All I know, I know it from there. 

GRREPORTER: How was your love for rhythmic gymnastics born? What were your first steps? 

Kamelia Dounavska: It started by accident. From my father, God rest his soul - he is no longer among us. He was the initiator. He took my sister and me to the hall of Juliet Shishmanova. We started off very timidly… I would say even without understanding what we are doing. But you know that over time when a person starts to deal with something and gets to its depths, then he falls in love with it. Back then rhythmic gymnastics was a very popular sport in Bulgaria and every girl wanted to do it. 

GRREPORTER: What are your plans for the future? 

Kamelia Dounavska: None. 

GRREPORTER: I find it hard to believe you... 

Kamelia Dounavska: The ambition of the Greek Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation is for me to stay up until the Olympics in 2012. I do not dare to make long-term plans. My children are in Bulgaria - my mother takes care of them, so for now I cannot plan anything. 

Tags: Greece Bulgaria Rhythmic gymnastics Neshka Robeva World Championship Kamelia Dounavska
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