Tia Hellebaut is a talented athlete that possess ability to excel in various events. Her talent is most evident in the high jump and heptathlon. We talked to her recently
Event: Heptathlon & High Jump
PB: 4589 pts (Pentathlon indoor) 1.95m (High Jump)
- Tell us the readers of Asia, what have you been up to lately. Training or competition wise. Also tell us a little info about yourself
I don’t have any other interest, my life is athletics and athletics is my life. I also like to participate and watch different sports.
- I read on your website, that you’re a professional athlete since 2001. Tell us a little of that life. Is it a satisfying job? I mean you’re doing something that you liked and being paid for it … not many people can say that
I found the job of my life! I love athletics and I’m very lucky that I’m getting paid for my hobby. There are some difficult days, but who hasn’t. Everybody has bad days, but that’s life.
- What is your training. Tell us some info of the trainings, nutrition, planning, etc that you do
In winter time i train up to 10-12 times a week, also because i do heptathlon. I didn’t do one this year, but i start preparation in October for the next year. Winter is always a hard time, so i go a lot to training camps because of the bad weather in Belgium. Last winter preparation I went to Spain, Lanzarote and South-Africa. I have to be careful about what I eat, I don’t usually eat fries, burgers or candy.
- How does it feel to be a high-jump record holder of your country
I have the national record together with Natalia Jonckheere, she also jumps 1.95m in 1995. I feel proud, because when i was a little girl, there were some competitions then, where we jumped together and I was always impressed by her and in a way, she inspired me
- How did you get started in high-jump. Tell us your history in Track/Field
It all began with a schools cross-country which i won and everybody told me sign-up for a track and field club. In the beginning I trained only twice a week. I always did a lot of events, but high jump was and still is my favorite. When i was 14-15 years, I increased my training to 3 times a week. I went to the European Championships for juniors (11th place in Heptathlon) and European Championships for under 23 (6th place in Heptathlon). I came back with good results though I trained only 3 times a week. In 2004 I tried qualifying for the heptathlon, as per normal I jumped in one of the event, the high-jump. And it so happens I ju,ped1.95m which is the Belgian Womens record. Though I equaled the record, I didn’t qualify for the Heptathlon, but i was very happy to go to the Helsinki games for the High-jump. My coach changed my training plans, because training for the high-jump is very different than Heptathlon.
- What goes through your mind when you go through a jump
Actually, nothing in-fact. I think before the jump, I’ve to go straight to the bar and just jump. When i think during my curve, I likely to hesitate. And when you hesitate you’ll slow down.
- How did you do at World Championship 2005 at Helsinki … after the event, did you met your goal and expectation going into the competition
I had surgery in March, so I had a difficult season. But after the surgery everything went well, no complications, no other injuries. I did my first competition the end of June. It went well and jumped 1.89m. Then I only realized that I would be ready for the World Championships in August. I started training very well. During that hard work I did some more competitions. My intention was to train hard until 4 weeks before Helsinki, then i trained less to taper. And in Helsinki I had the best feelings of my legs ever. So in Helsinki, i did a comfortable 1.93m and went to the final. In the final I also did 1.93m, and it was my very first attempt. That was very important. To get a good place in the final. I became 6th and was quite happy. So, I reached my goal going into Helsinki. Compared to March earlier after my surgery, I was a little afraid then, I didn’t know if I was too ambitious to think about Helsinki. The doctors told me i had to think about next year, but I just couldn’t. At least i wanted to try to make Helsinki, and I happy that I did go as I jumped with a good result
- How do you assess your performance at the previous Olympics 2004? Any plans or goals for Olympics 2008, Beijing
Athens was a big experience and i will never forget that time. I was glad to be part of the games. I dreamed about it many many times. I had a big jump in the qualifications and I needed that to get to the final. In the final my body was tired because of the high stress performance (on my level) in the qualification. In the end, I messed up the final. I was of course very disappointed. But when i look back now, I only think about the very intense feeling I had when I jumped 1.95m. After the final, though dejected not doing well, I can only reassure myself that I was there and I was proud I made it to the Olympic finals. Many people could just dream about it, but I made it. That’s a consolation I guess. As for now, I want to go to Beijing 2008, i will be 30years then. But I think it will be just a nice time to quit my career and start a family.
- Any last words for your fans in Asia and to young athletes?
Keep working! Not only the biggest talents get there, when you work hard you can get there too.
Thank you Tia for participating
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