Alexandra Nacheva - Bulgaria’s hope for success in triple jump


Three years ago, at the athletic track coach Stoiko Tsonov noticed a girl who impressed him with her talent. One day he insisted she tried the triple jump. The coach explained the technique and ... the result was a flight, very close to the Republican record.

Today, Alexandra Nacheva proves with every start that there are no limits for her. At the age of 17, she has won everything for her age, with the exception of the European title. In the past year Alexandra topped the world triple jump rankings, listened to the national anthem at the Youth Olympic Games and the World Championships, and achieved her best results for the season ...

“At the European U18 Championship in Hungary, which was my first big competition for the year, we were expecting to win the gold but remained second,” she says. “Just a week later, however, we succeeded in the World U20 Championships in Finland. Actually the success was completely unexpected. Speaking about the Olympics, my coach made up a plan so that we were in the best shape possible.”

Going to the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Alexandra said she was going only for the gold. She was also to meet again with Spanish sprinter Maria Vicente, who grabbed the gold at the European Championships in Hungary.

“My coach managed to motivate me the day before the race as I was competing for the Olympic title and all the time I was thinking about it. And he managed to make me focused, so I went out on the track completely relaxed and in the second try I jumped 13.86 m.”

Maria Vicente’s jump was 19 cm shorter than that of the Bulgarian.

When asked about her choice of sport Alexandra answers that athletics chose her.

When she was three years old she was going to the same kindergarten with the daughter of world champion Iva Prandzheva. The girls became friends and in the first grade they started practicing with the famous athlete. But soon Nicole chose volleyball and Alexandra started participating in her first children’s athletic competitions until triple jump coach Stoyko Tsonov noticed her.

“Her strongest qualities are two - her ability to jump and her strong desire to be the best,” Alexandra's coach says. "And when these qualities combine with good preparation, results were not late. However, I think people do not fully understand what she did for half a season in 2018. No one has ever won medals for such a short time from the European Championships, the World Championships and Youth Olympic Games.”

Like any other athlete Alexandra is also dreaming of winning the big Olympic title. But adds that winning a gold in Tokyo next year is very bold dream. So far her goal is to keep the good results of the past season and build on her successes gradually. This is also the advice of Bulgarian Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump Teresa Marinova. Is it easier to build on the tradition and achievements of previous champions?

“These are marks that you need to reach,” Alexandra says. “Teresa Marinova has left records and I have to fight to pass them, to progress in her footsteps. So far I have achieved all of her results when she was my age. But she has a world record of 14.62 m, which I will be looking to improve over the next two years.”

Could one day Aleksandra Nacheva hear for the second time the Bulgarian anthem at the Olympic Games? “Even if you have done everything perfectly and have shown your best, becoming an Olympic champion sometimes depends on God,” her coach says.

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: private library

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