Dobrynska overcomes tragedy to seek gold
The 2008 Olympic heptathlon champion Nataliya Dobrynska, the main rival to Britain’s Jessica Ennis, is making her quest for gold in London just months after the tragic death from cancer of her husband and coach.
On March 9, the 30-year-old Dobrynska danced for joy in the floodlights of Istanbul arena, cele-brating her world indoor title and a new world indoor pentathlon record which made her the first woman ever to score over 5,000 points.
But just 15 days later, her husband Dmitry Polyakov, who was also her personal coach, succumbed to cancer at the age of 47.
“He suffered from a sarcoma for almost the last two years,” Dobrynska told Ukrainian media ahead of her departure.
“He didn’t want anybody to know about his illness except the people closest to him and we kept it secret. He was a strong man and didn’t want to be an object of anyone’s pity.”
“I want to dedicate my last win at the World Championships in Istanbul to him, my husband, my best friend, my coach. He was happy with my victory there and only felt a regret that he couldn’t lead me into the London Games.”
Dobrynska said that despite her husband’s death she has carried out intense preparations for the 2012 Olympics.
“I will do everything that depends on me to win a medal in London,” she said.
“It will be the best possible tribute to the memory of my husband Dmitry.”
Dobrynska earned medals at World Championships in 2004 and 2005 but failed to win any serious title before her long-term partner Polyakov started training her early in 2007.
She improved Ukraine’s heptathlon record on four occasions before winning the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, finishing 33 points ahead of her team-mate Lyudmyla Blonska, the silver medallist there.
After marriage, in the next three years Dobrynska failed to win more titles, clinching the silver medals at the World Indoor Championships and the European Championships in 2010 in Bar-celona where she finished behind Ennis.
Dobrynska’s successful display in Istanbul this year has ended her title-winning drought but the heptathlon star said it was only a step in her preparations for the London Games.
“My main goal is a successful performance in London,” she said.
“The indoor pentathlon is a part of heptathlon but those are different competitions. I am preparing myself for a serious battle at the 2012 Olympics.”