Yulimar Rojas, the 22-years-old Venezuelan track and field athlete spoke to teleSUR Tuesday after her most recent accomplishment in the 2018 World Indoor Championship in Athletics, where she won a gold medal for the triple jump competition, retaining her world title.
Rojas said she was “very happy and proud” to retain the title for Venezuela, for her people, despite all the adversities she had to overcome to get to Birmingham in time and shape. She said that “when one fights with discipline, work gives the expected outcomes,” and hoped that her experience can inspire people: “This has to be an example for people to fight for what they want.”
Two months before the competition, Rojas broke her right foot’s plantar fascia and had to go through an intense recovery period.
“It was very hard for us because I was in excellent shape to compete at the time of the injury and spending a whole month in recovery made it more difficult for me to get back to a world championship level,” Rojas said. She thanked Dr. Tomas Fernandez for helping her recover, and said the medal also belonged to him.
“I knew it was gonna be hard but with the help of my trainer Ivan Pedroso, the Federation, the people who supported me, my family who took care of me, I was able to overcome this and be ready way before I expected.”
Rojas also said she was very nervous because she couldn't get to Birmingham due to weather restrictions, as heavy snows forced the airport to close down. At the end, they were able to land in Manchester.
“We took the last train to Birmingham and we got to the hotel at midnight to compete the next day at 11 a.m. It was a though experience but that motivated me to get my title despite adversities,” she said.
She also spoke about her Cuban trainer Ivan Pedroso, who is also the trainer of Spanish athlete Ana Peleteiro. “He's one of the best things that have happened to me,” said Rojas. “In three years we got three world titles and an Olympic medal. To me, Ivan Pedroso is the best in the world and it's an honor to work with him.”
In regard to President Hugo Chavez, who passed away on March 5, 2013, Rojas said he was a ”fundamental pillar for sports” in Venezuela, and recognized his achievements in taking sports to the lower classes” and getting children to understand that sports are very important for health and human values,” saying he “always had love for sports in Venezuela.”
The 17th IAAF World Indoor Championships took place in Birmingham, United Kingdom, from March 1 to 4.