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15 Feb 2014

TOP-8 Belarusian sportsmen in 2013: DARYA DOMRACHEVA, biathlete

Darya DomrachevaWe sums up the year 2013 with publications dedicated to Belarusian sports heroes, the best of which will be determined by public vote. Sergei Vishnevsky in the seventh article tells about the hope of the forthcoming Olympic Games in Sochi Darya Domracheva who for several years in a row is the face of the Belarusian winter sports and the supplier of happiness hormones for fans: she compensates for the early candle-light and prettifies dark evenings at the time of beriberi.

Belarusian biathlete Darya Domracheva

Through the efforts of sunny Dasha Domracheva biathlon became the highest rating sport in the winter months. It displaced hockey that was leading before. At the start of the biathlon season with some surprise we found that on TUT.BY the news about the shooting skiers are very popular, even if Belarusians do not get podium places. Moreover, our audience likes to read about not only women's races, but also men’s.

Perhaps partly the reason for this is the failure of Belarus hockey team at the Olympic Qualification in February, troubles of Minsk "Dynamo" in the CHL and BATE’s absence in the group stage of UEFA Champions League. Surely it is also affected by the fact that public television channels show biathlon in primetime. But would someone argue that it is not Dasha’s merit?

It may be said without exaggeration that due to the Olympics the interest of old and young in Domracheva picks up. Babushkas on the benches at the entrances really discuss biathlon, and some even asked me to say to Dasha to be more concentrated while shooting, because "we are so nervous that even take meds".

As for my family, Dasha charmed my kids (six-year-old and three-year-old boys) so much that during the TV coverage they are either sitting in front of screen and yelling in unison "Dom-ra-che-va!" or put the sheets of thick white paper with painted black circles on the floor and with their toy guns on the back run about the apartment, stopping near the handmade firing lines. After the cancellation of pursuit in Ostersund I was shocked not because the competition was stopped, but because of the reaction of my six-year-old son, who burst into tears, and I could not stroke him down for 15 minutes.

It’s good that Domracheva who had a strong lead after three quarters of the distance did not dramatize the situation. Now, almost a month later, she also keeps calm when recalls blizzard of Ostersund. Although, as it turned out, it was the race in which Belarusian was the closest to the podium in this season.

"As for the cancellation of pursuit in Ostersund, I couldn’t keep emotions close to my chest at first. As soon as I received this news, when they said: "Stop!" there was a storm of emotions. Even some rude words slipped out. Fans which were near have heard it, but they sympathized and were worried with me. Well. This is not the last race of the season, not the last race in life. I believe that such situations toughened up", – said Dasha in the National Airport before flight to Austria, where together with the women's team she trained for the fourth stage of the World Cup in Oberhof.

Perhaps, after what she did in previous seasons (shot someone else's target; shot in the standing instead of the required prone position), it’s difficult to call the case in Ostersund even an adventure.

But the fact that to New Year holidays Domracheva has no medals is, of course, alarming. Last time such happened with her five years ago – in season-2008/09. However, we should not forget that this year Belarusian completely missed the World Cup in Annecy. Adrian Tsybulsky the head coach of Belarusian team said that Dasha had the individual training program in order to be in good shape at the Olympics: "We planned it initially that Dasha Domracheva will miss one of World Cup stages. We thought that she will miss the start in Oberhof, but due to Dasha’s state we’ve changed plans and decided not to send her to France. I think it was the right choice. Dasha and all experts share this opinion. But final conclusions, of course, can be drawn only after Games in Sochi. In Antholz Dasha worked with Klaus Siebert. And the focus was not only on shooting. There are many different nuances, over which we must work. After the arrival Klaus has reported. Everything went according to plan".

Let us put trust in Dasha and her coaches. They really know better. By the way the Ministry of Sports and the Biathlon Federation also do their job, you know the highest state order for five medals in Sochi has not been cancelled. So the athlete and her coaches willy-nilly feel increased pressure. The whole country is waiting and understands that Domracheva has the most realistic chance to get medals at the Olympic Games... Moreover, the Olympic medal predictor Infostrada is sure that Domracheva should win four silver medals (in the sprint, individual race, pursuit and mass start).

Now Dasha is going through a very difficult period. And we understand it and do not offense her for the fact that in such a difficult time she doesn’t communicate with the press.

Darya Domracheva

This does not mean that she doesn’t respect fans and the work of journalists. Try to put yourself in her shoes. Are you sure that you would have behaved differently? Everyone has their own way to achieve the goal. For example, for Martin Fourcade informal chit-chat with journalists – is a great opportunity to escape from the training routine and ease emotional tension. But someone in the same situation could lose concentration and bate energy.

Dasha gave fans so much during all this time, that today Belarusians can forgive her a lot. Perhaps that is why people almost without exception took her failures at the start of the season surprisingly easy. If it was somebody else, the reaction on the Internet forums would be worse... as if Dasha’s positive strains negative emotions of public.

Every fan knows what she can do and recognizes her not only as an outstanding athlete, but also as a bright person with a big heart, ready to empathy and compassion, who is actively involved in charitable projects. And owing to pressing engagements sometimes she is unable to present personally at the events, but she delegates powers to her fan clubs.

Even more, Darya knows how to have fun – to play in a funny film, video or to take part in advertising photo session, as well as to congratulate fans nicely on holidays in her Twitter.

Darya Domracheva in photosession for WarGaming
Darya Domracheva

It is interesting that fans do not bother her much with overdue interest in her personal life, what is not typical for the public persona’s cases. Even scandalous rumors about her relationships with the famous Bjoerndalen surprisingly got off to a slow start. 

Rumors about a possible acquiring of foreign nationality had the same end. Although, they say, for the transfer of Domracheva to another country, some team even promised to present her the island. But Dasha appreciates the atmosphere in the Belarusian team and she doesn’t ready to barter it away. She does the rough work and always tries her best in relays, although as the world star she might have asked to deliver her from the necessity of doing it. And the team is inspired by the Domracheva’s example and success. So when the leader came to good, the girls could also make surprises like silver medals in relay in Antholz-2012 or sprint bronze Nadezhda Scardino’s medal in Pokljuka-2012.

The best result of Domracheva at the start of the new season is the fourth place in the sprint at the first World Cup stage in Ostersund. She won all the prizes of the outgoing 2013 in previous season – one gold, three silver and two bronze medals at the World Cup starts and one World Championship gold medal. Do not forget about the second position in the Total World Cup after Tora Berger.

All these achievements together with people's love to the athlete, who is with dignity bearing a heavy cross of Olympic expectations, let us unhesitatingly recognize Dasha as the main hero of the country in the outgoing sporting year.

And now it is high time to make a wish near a Christmas tree: let’s wish Dasha the most striking and memorable upcoming Olympic 2014 year. Doesn’t she deserve it?


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