Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The muaythai mother winning gold at the world championships.

Winning a muaythai gold medal, and doing it while caring for a young child might seem impossible but not for Irina Larinova.

The Russian world champion and her 14-month old son Fedor are a regular sight at IFMA muaythai championships. Last year she claimed the European title when he was just seven months old. And at the World Championships in Minsk she took 75kgs gold as the little boy watched from the stands.

Asked how she combines motherhood and muaythai, she said simply: ‘I’d like to say to all the girls from all national teams: please don’t be afraid of giving birth to children. It’s not an ending for your sport or career perspective. Trust me. Your child will be your inspiration and motivation to succeed and pursue your goals. When there are people who have your back and support you, you can do anything that’s on your mind.’

The 27-year old started muaythai in 2012, and immediately fell in love with this ancient sport.

She said: ‘Muaythai is not just my favorite sport, but all my life is somehow connected with it. Firstly, I enjoy training and the effort is worth it because of the result. Secondly, I like the environment: my coach, my friends from the gym and the national team.’

Irina Larionova Russia receives her Gold Medal in 75kgs at the IFMA World Championships 2017
Image Arthur Mazur for IFMA
She praises her coach Alexey Motorin as ‘the world’s best’ saying his support was crucial in helping her continue after becoming pregnant.

Irina had early success with amateur muaythai, qualifying for the national team by winning the Russian Cup in 2015. She went on to take bronze at the IFMA World Championships that year.

Shortly afterwards, Irina became pregnant. A hugely exciting event, it could have signaled the end for her muaythai.

She said: ‘I never thought about abortion, but neither did I think about leaving muaythai. I felt I just started, and taken the first steps towards being a world champion. That’s why I decided to come back as soon as I could after giving birth to my child.’

Of course it’s one thing to make that decision, and another to make it happen.
She said: ‘I do have less time in the day now, and training became harder to cope with. Sometimes my body seemed to belong to someone else, and I was sore.

‘Even simple exercises were tough but practice makes it easier. Since I’ve had Fedya my schedule has to match with his timetable, and that doesn’t always agree with my training process. So I’ve got to miss workouts sometimes.’

And when they say it takes a village to raise a child, you can add it takes a national team to raise an athlete’s child! The progressive attitude of Irina’s coach, and support from the national team and Russian Muaythai Federation are crucial to her success.

And of course Irina has extra motivation when facing the best female muaythai athletes in the IFMA rings. She said: ‘Being a mother gives me great motivation in the ring, that’s for sure! Sometimes when I’ve no energy to continue the fight, my coaches say to me: “Why did you come here? You left your son for this” or “Your son is watching you!” It’s really motivating!’

Other coaches at the World Championships in Minsk took to social media to say her morning runs with the Fedor in his buggy inspired their athletes.

Irina just laughed, saying: ‘That’s awesome! Yes, many coaches and athletes from different countries come to me saying: “You are so cool! And Fedya is too” It’s enjoyable, pleasant and really awesome experience to be someone’s inspiration.

Follow Irina Larinova on Instagram:  Irina Larinova muaythai 

This story was written for IFMA International Federation of Muaythai Amateur.


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