Student selected to compete at the Winter Olympics
Ioan Achiriloaie, a member of Coventry University Students’ Union, has been selected to represent his country at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Coventry University Students’ Union has conducted a Q&A session with him to discuss this fantastic achievement:
How does it feel to have been selected for the Winter Olympics?
I cannot even begin to describe the feeling. The honour of being part of the Olympic team of Romania is amazing. Qualifying for the Olympics is the best thing that could have happened to me at this point in my career.
When did you first get into the sport?
My first real race was in 2003. It was the National Children’s Championships of Romania. The person who introduced me to skiing was my father when I was 7, introducing it as a 'must do' sport. Needless to say he was right. He actually never wanted me to become a ski racer; just to ski well enough. Then Maria Cristea, the wife of Romania’s best ever skier Dan Cristea, recognised me as a potential ski racer. My father said let's give it a try and the rest is history.
How have you benefitted from being part of the Coventry University Scholarship scheme and sport at Coventry?
I want to be very clear on this subject. I could have never have achieved this without it. It provided me with the necessary funding in order to participate in the races I needed to go to. These races were in Slovenia, Switzerland, Italy and elsewhere. I thank Coventry University not only for the financial support provided, but also the moral support. In my time at Uni I have learned what it means to be appreciated for your work as an athlete. I will always be grateful.
How proud are you to represent your country?
I cannot express what an honour this is for me. To be able to wear that badge on your chest with Romania and the Olympic circles will be the culmination of all the effort I have put into alpine skiing over my entire career. It also tells me nothing was in vain.
What are your plans between now and the Winter Olympics? Where will you be training?
If all is well I plan to ski for a minimum of 15 days each month until December when the races start. I will make my debut in the World Cup and Europa Cup as well at the end of December. I have my schedule all planned out in detail the only problem now, of course, is the financial backing. I am struggling with this but hopefully I will find some people as nice as the ones from Coventry to help me continue my activity.
Who inspires you and why?
Steven Gerrard. Yes, your Steven Gerrard. I have to say he is the person who inspires me the most. The commitment he gives on the football pitch regardless the opposition or the side he is playing in enlightens me every time. Another person that inspires me greatly is Muhammad Ali. The confidence he has is astonishing.
What are your hopes for the future?
Regarding my career if all goes according to plan I want to become a World Class athlete in my sport and country. I firmly believe I have the athletic and mental means to do so; all I need is the support.
To make a donation towards Ioans’ Olympic dream please go to: http://gogetfunding.com/project/olympic-dream