This team was created in 2012 but the only members left from the initial team are captain, Bozhana, and vice-captain, Marina. The team had fantastic results in its first season – Euro Cups: Serbia, Nis and Vrbas River, BiH; Euro Champs in Czech Republic and Bulgarian National Championships. The 2013 season saw them at Euro Cups: Serbia, Nis – 2nd place and Vrbas River, BiH – 3rd place and Bulgarian National Championships – 2nd place. So that’s great results so far.
Their strongestandmost favourite discipline by far is the slalom, but they do love all disciplines. All of its members are involved in other sports: Capoeira, speleology, swimmers, kayak pros, climbers, bikers, hikers, skiers and snowboarding enthusiasts. They love sports and they love the nature.
Now let’s get to know the team that is led by the Coach – Ivan Topalov.
Team: Marina Naydenova – first left, Jordanka Bogdanova – first right, Margarita Paunova – first right (sub), Maria Raicheva – second left, Eli Savova – second left (sub), Kristina Popova – second right, Cvetelina Velcheva – left back, Bozhana Dudeva – right back, captain of the Team.
“We are dedicated to the Team, however we all have our own careers and educational backgrounds. In our rafting family we have furniture designers and technologists, TV show editor, Speech therapist, Poker specialist, Optician, Cartoon animator and Fine art Connoisseur and Designer. Among our weirdest certificates you will find – Captain of a ship, Lifeguard instructor, philologist and pedagogue. And this only goes for the Ladies Team!” – Yeah, very interesting occupations not linked much to rafting!
One of the wildest rivers we have seen is the Vrbas River in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We all remember that the first time we went in for a practice the day before the competition back in 2013, the rapids were so fast that we couldn’t even react. The night slalom was postponed because of the high river level. It was just amazing! Another amazing and extreme experience was the Czech Republic Euro Championship“
“After season 2013 we decided that we will conquer bigger rivers, take higher positions in the European list of Teams and we haven’t stopped practising since. We have a schedule of training – we take the weekends for practice on the river Struma, the Kresna Gorge where our base camp is (the river where the National Championship is held), and during the week we practice near Sofia at the Pancharevo dam. We also take trips to different locations for a richer experience – after the end of the season 2013 we went to Tara (Montenegro). Part of the Team went to Greece on a kayak trip. There were members who went as far as Norway to gain experience on river Tovdal.” – I like to hear when teams have a specific strategy, not just that before one competition.
“Besides paddling” – add Cvetelina – “we also keep our shape by hitting the gym, and doing all the sports we have been practising besides rafting. We came to the conclusion that the combination of climbing, capoeira and rafting is what makes a person a true champion!” – It is fantastic. Many teams practice a combination of different sports in order to achieve the best result in one of them. I’ll follow their progress and see how the combination of these sports produces results.
“Since we have been preparing very hard” – explains Cvetelina – “we are off to a stronger season. We have plans for bigger and harder competitions. Trips to more rivers and making friends with more teams worldwide. Our main goal is to get to Brazil. Even though we are a small and new team we dream big and prepare hard!” – This positive attitude is simply motivated. It is impossible not to feel the positive energy and ambition through these answers. It’s really fantastic.
“We are in the process of searching for sponsors. However we would like to thank the fantastic guys from the club Reflip, the Men’s team and mostly our coach – Ivan Topalov for the help, patience and the effort they all put in. We are grateful and we love them!” – Compliments to the male part of team for their support and help towards these girls.
It was a pleasure to chat with the girls and learn about all their interesting things. They are ready for the new season, are incredibly motivated, and we don’t have anything else to do but wait for the first contest to hang out with them and watch them paddle. See you at the races, guys.