Unstoppable in Barcelona - European Shot Put champion Nadzeya Ostapchuk (Getty Images) © Copyright
Nadzeya OSTAPCHUK, Belarus (Shot Put)
Born: 28 October 1980, Rechitsa, Brest region
Coach: Alexander Efimov
Manager: Pavel Voronkov
Nadzeya Ostapchuk was born in the small city of Rechitsa where her first love was basketball. But athletics took over after a track and field trainer visited her sports hall and suggested to several girls that they try competition. Among them was the 15-year-old Nadzeya. Remaining with the trainer, she ran and jumped with pleasure. First it was the 400m and broad jumps then, in the second year, long distances.
“I took up the shot put by luck,” Ostapchuk recalled. “When our team arrived at a regional competition, I saw that the shot put had only a few declared participants. Our team needed points and they asked me to come in the sector for the shot put. I agreed and got third place! The trainer saw my successful attempts and invited me to Brest to work in his group.”
Ostapchuk welcomed this offer. It was her goal to move to Brest – the large city where it was possible to develop. Life became more interesting as she travelled to cities and sports bases, and various tournaments in Ukraine and Belarus.
Valery Oksenchuk became her new trainer, and Ostapchuk began to progress quickly. As soon as the second year, Ostapchuk went to Portugal to participate in the European Youth Olympic Days and the next year, in 1998, she won the gold medal at the World Junior Championships, in Annecy, France, and set a new personal record (18.23).
“I added more than a metre to my personal record and the victory at the World Junior Championships has kept me in sports,” Ostapchuk said. “Before it I was at the crossroads: whether to enter the institute and concentrate on study or to remain in sports and to enter a school of Olympic Reserves? I have chosen sports and the success in France became a starting point of my victorious career.”
Time passed and she needed new specialist knowledge. As her trainer concentrated mainly on javelin throwers, he decided to transfer Ostapchuk to his colleague from Minsk, Alexander Efimov.
Efimov structured training differently. Ostapchuk worked more on weights, her training volumes grew and, together, performances have grown too. There was much to change in her technique and movement. She thought, for the first time, of what is necessary to make the shot fly further.
“When I put the shot 19m, it seemed to me, that I could not go any further,” she said. “But the trainer considered my potential had not been reached and that I could push further. I have started to analyse the actions and have understood what were the mistakes. I began to think of the benefits of every exercise, what it can give me in future.”
In 2001 Ostapchuk won her first senior medal at the 2001 World Indoor Championship, in Lisbon, taking silver with an indoor personal best at 19.24. She also won the European Under-23 Championship with a new personal record (19.73) which is still a record for this competition.
In 2003 she won silver medals at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham (20.31) and the outdoor World Championships in Paris (20.12).
Fourth in the 2004 Athens Olympics in 2005 she broke the 21 metres barrier in Minsk in July (21.09, a national record) and then became World champion, in Helsinki.
She also won the World Athletics Final in 2004, 2005 and 2007. The last of those victories, achieved in Stuttgart, reversed the result from the 2007 World Championships, in Osaka, in which Valerie Vili, from New Zealand, took the gold medal while Ostapchuk had to settle for silver and the loss of her world title.
Going into the 2008 World Indoor Championships, Ostapchuk had declared, “In Valencia I am going to try to win a gold medal. I will try hard and let’s see what happens. Shot put is difficult to predict, therefore I will be glad with any medal.”
However, in Valencia she lost the first place to Valerie Vili and was second, and at the Olympic Games in Beijing she was not able to acclimatise and could achieve only bronze.
The following year Nadzeya, having won the European Winter Throwing Cup in Los Realejos in March, only competed again in July, with a best throw of 19.88 in Moscow before undergoing surgery (Bartholin's gland) at the end of the month. It passed successfully, and a month later she accepted the invitation to take part in the World Athletics Final, in Thessaloniki. There she won the second place and considering her lack of competition, this was a lucky result.
This year has been marked by the longest series of victories in her career. In all ten international starts in which she took part, Ostapchuk rose on the highest step of the pedestal. She also achieved, for the first time, the title of the World Indoor champion, has won the European Winter Throwing Cup, European Athletics Championships, and the Samsung Diamond League.
She was also victorious in national tournaments, and in the middle of February Ostapchuk won the winter championship of Belarus, having broken the national record with 21.70. This result brought her to the No. 3 position in the All-time indoor lists.
After winning the Diamond Race Trophy in Zürich (with victories in Shanghai, Gateshead, Paris-Saint Denis, Monaco, Stockholm, London and Zürich), Ostapchuk had mentioned her love of rally driving, and this was quickly picked up by the international media.
“I did not come back in a racing car from the Zürich Weltklasse meeting as some representatives of mass media have written,” said Ostapchuk. “I take part in rally infrequently, as a rule, in autumn, in inter-season period. With my friends we have founded a Citroen-club. But I am not the most active racer, because I have not lot of time after trainings and competitions. I prefer to speak with my clubmen.”
21.09 NR (2005); 21.70i NR (2010)
1998 - 18.23; 1999 - 18.73 (16.75i); 2000 - 18.82 (19.13i); 2001 - 19.73 (19.24i); 2002 - 19.40 (18.81i); 2003 - 20.12 (20.56i); 2004 - 20.36 (18.60i); 2005 - 21.09 NR (19.37i); 2006 - 20.56 (20.86i, NR); 2007 - 20.48 (19.89i) ; 2008 - 20.98 (20.35i); 2009 - 19.88 (19.55i); 2010 - 20.95 (21.70i, NR).
1998 1st World Junior Championships
1999 1st European Junior Championships
2000 6th European Indoor Championships
2001 2nd World Indoor Championships
2001 1st European Under-23 Championships
2001 7th World Championships
2001 2nd Grand Prix Final
2002 5th European Championships
2003 2nd World Indoor Championships
2003 2nd World Championships
2003 3rd World Athletics Final
2004 7th World Indoor Championships
2004 4th Olympic Games
2004 1st World Athletics Final
2005 1st World Championships
2005 1st World Athletics Final
2005 1st European Indoor Championships
2006 6th World Indoor Championships
2006 2nd European Championships
2006 3rd World Athletics Final
2007 2nd World Championships
2007 1st World Athletics Final
2008 2nd World Indoor Championships
2008 3rd Olympic Games
2009 1st European Winter Throwing Cup
2009 2nd World Athletics Final
2010 1st European Winter Throwing Cup
2010 1st World Indoor Championships
2010 1st European Athletics Championships
Prepared by Mikhail Dubitski for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008-2010.
- Unstoppable in Barcelona - European Shot Put champion Nadzeya Ostapchuk (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Nadzeya Ostapchuk (BLR) at the 2004 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Silver medal throw for Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Nadezhsa Ostapchuk of Belarus celebrates winning gold in the women's Shot Put (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Nadezhda Ostapchuk clinches the 2010 Diamond Race Trophy in the Shot put at Zurich's main train station (Getty Images) © Copyright