White Line Curve

Meet Valeria – Bulgaria’s promising young athlete

“Mihaleva for Hope” Foundation always strives to support young and talented people, helping them develop their potential and overcoming obstacles on their way to professional and personal growth.
We are proud to continue with common efforts to fulfill the dreams of Valeria Georgieva, a young sports talent who achieves success in Bulgaria and abroad with a lot of effort and dedication.
Valeria is an inspiring example of the strength of the spirit, capable of conquering the highest peak. Good examples should be shared and encouraged, but most of all, created. We spoke to her to learn more about her favorite sport – judo, and her dreams and ambitions for development.

Hello Valeria, thank you for joining us for this conversation. We appreciate that you took the time out of your busy schedule to speak with us. We understand that you just finished a training session and we are excited to chat with you. Please share some information about yourself?
Hello, pleased to meet you. My name is Valeria, and I am twelve years old. Training is truly one of my favorite things to do. I am currently in sixth grade with a combat sports profile. I study at the 153rd sports school, “Neofit Rilski”, Sofia.

What sparked your interest in combat sports, and why did you choose judo specifically?
A friend of my father’s advised me to enroll in the sports school with a judo profile. He saw potential in me. I decided to train because it seemed interesting, and I like combat sports. I tried it, and I liked it.

You used to do gymnastics. Is this helping you now?
Yes, definitely. Because of acrobatics, I am more flexible and faster, which helps me a lot in competitions.

Where do you get your inspiration for sports? Do you have a favorite athlete who inspires you?
Yes, I have. One of them is Mark Hristov, who is among the most promising Bulgarian judokas and is the European champion for 2022, the other is Georgi Gramatikov, also an excellent judoka and bronze European medalist. We train together with him at the Lokomotiv Sofia Judo and Sambo Sports Club. Mark also used to come to our sports hall. I strive to learn from them and move forward.

We know you train every day. What motivates you?
Losing tournaments motivates me to train harder to be stronger and win.

You mentioned that you’ve been participating in competitions. Could you share more details about your recent ones?
I recently participated in the Balkan Championship, but unfortunately, I didn’t win. Before that, I participated in two competitions held in Pernik. I secured first place in judo and second place in sambo.
In February, I won 1st place at the Perun Cup tournament. In March, I traveled to Niš, Serbia, where I won first place at the international judo tournament. I won first place at the “Gladiator” international contest in Plovdiv in April. Additionally, at the Republican Judo Championship in Dimitrovgrad, I achieved the title of vice-champion of the country.

This is impressive, fingers crossed that successes continue. You also mentioned sambo, the connection between it and judo is known. Is that what piqued your interest and how long have you been training?
I have been practicing sambo for two years. Yes, I fell for it, along with judo. I don’t train intensively except when we have competitions.

It’s clear that you have a strong passion for sports. What are your plans for the next few months?
Very soon we will have a state judo championship for boys and girls, junior age, in Panagyurishte, in which I will participate. Besides that, I’m preparing for other competitions that occur weekly.

What does judo teach you?
This sport educates and teaches perseverance. It gives me energy and motivates me to train hard and win. Judo taught me discipline, humility, and tenacity on and off the mat.

How do you manage to combine sports and studies?
It’s not easy, but I have successfully combined the two. In the morning we have practice, after which I go to school. In the afternoon, I train again.

What is the goal you are aiming for?
I aim to train hard, compete, and win medals. I want to become an Olympic champion one day. I will also be happy if I win the Balkan Championship.

We’re sure that will happen. With such an intense calendar, do you have time for a hobby?
Football. I enjoy watching football matches on TV and playing with the boys in my neighborhood. I play as a striker and practice with another girl who also trains in judo. We both discovered our love for soccer by chance, with me being inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo and her by Messi. Despite our different inspirations, we get along very well on the field.

Real team spirit. Thank you very much for your time – do you want to congratulate someone?
I want to congratulate my coach, Siana Hristova, and my teammate, Ailin Sharifova. To Ailin, I want to say that I encourage her to stay strong and inspired and keep striving to be an even better competitor. I’m incredibly grateful to my coach for her guidance and support in helping me succeed. She continues to teach and guide me, and I am truly thankful for that.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for you and can’t wait to talk again when we’re sure you’ll have more good news to share. We wish you wholeheartedly yusei gachi*, Valeria!

*a judo term meaning victory by superiority.

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