Hristian Stoyanov, a 23-year-old Bulgarian athlete, won a silver medal in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo this year. The young and ambitious student from Gabrovo showed that efforts pay off. He finished second in running 1500 meters and brought tears of happiness to many Bulgarians’ eyes.
“The preparation for this Olympiad lasted years, if not even saying a whole life. The way to achieve my goal is through perseverance and training,” Stoyanov said. He was born with a disability to his right side, which is less developed than the left one. However, this does not stop him from fighting to make his dreams come true.
The silver medalist keeps himself active by doing different kinds of exercises on a daily basis and wants to prove that a Paralympic athlete is no less prepared than another. “It is often that we (the Paralympic athletes) remain undervalued or even unrecognized as athletes,” Stoyanov said. Despite this, he still finds the power to pursue his goals and go even further in achievements.
Paralympic athletes do not get the necessary attention from the ruling parties and society to develop properly in the disciplines they compete in. Stoyanov said that they are valued by certain people at a definite moment. For instance, the Bulgarian President Rumen Radev granted the athletes who won medals at the Tokyo Games with the Presidential Badge of Honor, among who were Hristian Stoyanov and Ruzhdi Ruzhdi. However, this is generally not enough for Paralympic athletes to grow and they need to be better supported and provided with the fundamental conditions for efficient training.
According to our silver medalist, people need to change the way they perceive Paralympic athletes and their abilities. He expresses this opinion because he thinks this way the contestants will be motivated to participate and develop not only themselves but the sport as a whole, bringing even more honors to Bulgaria.
When it comes to motivation, though, Stoyanov shares that it depends on the period he is going through rather than the people who support him. The audience and his nearest and dearest family and friends are the reason why Stoyanov searches for impetus and never gives up. They help him try harder and do his best. “I find motivation in the small happy moments and the emotions I feel when I am on the track,” Stoyanov said. Those things give him the power to train a lot, improve himself, and go further into achieving goals.
“The medal is the smallest reward. It is just a representation of everything I have fought for. The emotions are the real award,” Stoyanov said. A lot of training, long hours of running, numerous competitions, and many unforgettable athletic moments lie behind his big achievement in Tokyo.
The Paralympic Games in Tokyo were postponed because of Covid-19 and were held this year instead of in 2020. People had to wear masks and follow safety measures so that the Games looked almost the same as in Rio 2016. Apart from wearing masks, for Stoyanov, those Games were no different from the last ones. The only significant distinction is that this time he is a medalist.
“From now on, my biggest aim is Paris 2024,” Stoyanov said. He is determined to “jump even higher” and pursue the golden medal. He will be training hard in the following years so that he becomes stronger than ever to defend his medal and fight for another one. Stoyanov expects to challenge himself for achieving this goal, although it highly depends on how he goes through the three years of preparation beforehand.
Stoyanov will once again try to demonstrate there are no limits to the strong motivation he has. He plans to train even more in order to reach his expectations. He relies on the support of the people around him. Lastly, he tries to “fill his heart with positive emotions and thus, keeps going through the long path to the big success”. We can only wish him good luck with whatever comes in front of him. We keep our fingers crossed that he will make another dream come true.
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