TOKYO (JPN), FIG Office, October 3, 2011: The 24-year-old WAG gymnast Maria Homolova from Kovacova represents Slovakia at these championships. A member of Detva Artistic Gymnastics Club, Maria, who thinks of her sport as very challenging and one that requires much courage and ascetic discipline, introduces herself:
“My parents accompanied me as a six-year-old to the training hall, which then became my second home for the next few years. I do my training twice a day, six times a week. Gymnastics has become a part of my life. Despite the bad injuries I have suffered, I cannot give up gymnastics.
“I was trained by a Ukrainian couple for 11 years, but in 2004 they decided to return home. At that time our club was also in financial difficulties, with an escalating central heating debt! I had no trainer and the gym was going to be closed and sold. I was 18 years old, with my career ahead of me and I could not do any training.
“Then, a trainer named Katarina Krekanova, a native of Detva, took me under her wing and suggested I become a guest gymnast in Trnava until the problems in Detva were solved. She could hardly have thought that we would return together to Detva within two and a half years. So I agreed, and from September 2004 until December 2007 I guested in Trnava.
“Then, in January 2008, my trainer ended her contract in Trnava and decided to rebuild and reinvigorate gymnastics in Detva. It was really hard to begin with, but recently our club has become the most successful and popular in Slovakia. We work hard to wipe off the debt that arose in 2004 to enable us to run the gym.
“But my progress was hampered not only by the club’s financial problems but also by bad injuries. In 2007 I suffered a fractured arm and year later a ruptured Achilles tendon. However, I never gave up and always tried my best to win. Hard work, never-ending hours of training and a huge self-discipline finally brought their rewards, mainly this year when I won the Slovak championships and succeeded in qualifying for the World Championships!”
(Source: Slovakian Gymnastics Federation)