Heptathlete beats tragedy to be back

Heptathlete beats tragedy to be back

KIEV - Agence France-Presse
Heptathlete beats tragedy to be back

This photo taken on Aug 16, 2008, shows Ukraine’s Nataliia Dobrynska competing and winning the gold in the women’s heptathlon competition in Beijing Games.

The 2008 Olympic heptathlon champion Nataliya Dobrynska, the main rival to British star 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, celebrating 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, died of an aggravating 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.”