“I would be happy to receive any medal, but I will do my best to win gold. I am very excited about the forthcoming Championships.”
Russian five-time world champion Darya Stukalova has spoken of the 2014 IPC Swimming European Championships from 4-10 August as a ‘major step’ and ‘turning point’ towards her campaign for the 2015 Worlds and Rio 2016.
Stukalova, who picked up her first world titles last year in in Montreal, Canada, is hungry to feel the thrill of winning once again in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
“After I won at Montreal, I know all the excitement of victory, which I did not experience before,” she said.
After missing out on gold medals at the 2011 European Championships in all four of her events, the 19-year-old felt disappointed with her performance and subsequently stepped up her regime.
“After the 2011 Championships my training became more time consuming and intense. It’s not very encouraging always to be second, but I managed to overcome it and the victory came in Montreal!”
At Eindhoven 2014 Stukalova will compete in the same six events as in 2013. She now aims to add European titles to her collection after winning three silver and one bronze medal in 2011.
“I would be happy to receive any medal, but I will do my best to win gold. I am very excited about the forthcoming Championships,” she said.
For Stukalova however, who took up swimming at the age of eight, adding to her three Paralympic bronze and one silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games is the ultimate goal. After her medal-winning debut at London 2012, she found a new outlook and self-confidence.
“When I was participating in London, I never imagined that such attention would be directed toward the Paralympic Games, that many athletes from different countries will come to compete, that the public will display such enthusiasm and interest in our events.
“Before that I never fully realised all the scale of the Paralympic Movement. All that made me feel like a part of something important and meaningful. I finally understood that I found my calling.
“These Games forever changed how I viewed and feel about myself, the world and the people around me. I am dreaming about Paralympic Games in 2016. I wish my dream of becoming Paralympic Champion will become reality.”
Stukalova will be one of almost 400 athletes from 37 countries competing at the Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium from 4-10 August in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Tickets are still available via the ticket website, as well as high quality photos of the event.
All morning and evening sessions will be livestreamed at www.ParalympicSport.TV and live results will be available at the event website.
Live updates will be posted to the IPC Swimming Facebook page and via the IPC Swimming Twitter account or search #Eindhoven2014.
The 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships take place in Glasgow, Great Britain, from 13-19 July in the same pool as the 2014 Commonwealth Games.