Igor is a Macedonian athlete who started out as a swimmer and was inspired to try triathlon by his son. He talks to Sundried about training and motivation.
Have you always been into sport?
I started swimming in 1984 when I was 6. Back then, every child was "forced" to go out to play, socialise, play sports or do art; not like today locked up at home in front of screens. At the age of 6, I not only learned to swim, but I also started competing. They were children's races, but they were still very important to me. By doing these races as a child, I gained valuable experience for adult races later in life.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
In 2015, I had to move to Dubai for work. One morning, my eldest son phoned me and talked about doing triathlon, which was a sport I didn't know about. I was curious to find out more so I started training hard and competing. As with swimming, I now do it with great passion and drive to succeed.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
I wanted to be a triathlete, but I didn't have a bike, so I had to borrow one to be able to compete. For the 2019 National Championships, I borrowed a bike at the last minute and still managed to win. That's my favourite yet most unpredictable race ever.
And your proudest achievement?
It is the dream of every long-distance elite swimmer to swim the English Channel one day. It has long been a challenge for swimmers around the world to come and fight the waves and unpredictable cold-water currents that can sometimes be fatal. Anyone who attempts it deserves great respect in my opinion. Swimming the English Channel is, therefore, my proudest achievement.
Apart from this, my second proudest achievement is taking 5th place at the Balkan Triathlon Championships in Istanbul in 2019.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
I can't say that I've ever had a disastrous race, as I'm still pretty new to the world of triathlon. Hopefully I will never have one!
How do you overcome setbacks?
In 1997, I was the only university representative at the University of Sicily, Italy, and when it came to books and the promise of a 200-meter backstroke in less than 2 minutes and 10 seconds to take me to Sweden's upcoming World Cup, I was faced with the biggest hurdle. I swam a few hundredths of a second from the Olympic record of 2.07.53, but I was not in the team for reasons still unclear to me (only now I realise there was no one to push me, which is how the system still works to this day, unfortunately).
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Nothing makes you feel more motivated than having your son competing with you at the same race.
What are your goals?
My wish is not only to be the most successful Macedonian athlete with the title of state champion in two Olympic sports (swimming and triathlon) but I also aspire to win another medal from the Balkan Triathlon Championships.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
My family and my children.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The Sundried brand looks great. I really love the men's trisuits. They are so elegant but also perform very well. I'll definitely buy one for my upcoming races.