Nataliya Bystrova: ''I would like people to be more tolerant to female bodybuilding''

Interview with the new champion from Tatarstan

Female bodybuilding is not so popular in Tatarstan – it's a bit unfair because one of the most decorated sportswomen in this sport lives in our republic. Early in December native citizen of Kazan Nataliya Bystrova won a big victory – she became an absolute world female bodybuilding champion. Realnoe Vremya's sport staff reached out to the champion and knew all details.

''I had been deliberately training for 6 months''

First of all, Mrs Bystrova, congratulations. Could you tell our readers what a competition it was?

It was a world bodybuilding championship that took place in Biarritz in France. Over 300 sportswomen from 56 countries participated in it. The competition level was very high – the best athletes gathered from all over the world to find a winner in different categories.

What was your category?

My category is called in Russia classic female bodybuilding. 14 girls of different ages and from countries participated in this category. It has two rounds. Proportions and four different poses to compare the development of muscles and the quality of their structure are evaluated. The second round is called musical composition. The ability of a sportswoman to use her muscles in movement, her harmonic movements, demonstration of her womanliness were evaluated. According to the rules, this round lasts from 30 to 60 seconds.

How was this tournament for you?

To start with, it was very important for me because I had been preparing for it for a long time. I had been deliberately training for 6 months. I became an absolute champion of Russia about a month ago, which gives the right to participate in international competitions. I represented my country with pride, and the responsibility I had was quite big. It turned out all judges considered I was the No. 1 candidate for the win. In addition, I won not only my own category among 14 women but also the absolute category. We had two categories among the women with a height of under 163 cm and higher. And each of them had their own leader. A Russian sportswoman won the other category too. We had to fight for the absolute leadership against her. In the end, I was first.

''A woman with muscles can also be beautiful, womanly and harmonic''

A foreign newspaper wrote that ''Bystrova didn't have rivals and she won easily''. Is it really easy?

Actually, it is cool when people believe in you so and nobody questions you are the best. I'm such a person by nature – I don't know whether it is the truth until I am not given a cup and have a medal hanging on the neck. It is clear I did my best. I have nothing to reproach myself fore. It is usually a pity when you didn't complete something, but it's not the case now. And when the judges evaluated me so high, it is probably cool. I'm happy it all happened to me.

''In the world championship, I weighed about 54 kg, that's to say, it is a pure weight of muscles that was so good that the separation of fibres was seen for spectators. The judges appreciated this situation.'' Photo:

What emotions did you feel then? Aren't you tired of victories because you already have many awards?

Yes, right this federation and category are new to me. The thing is that before moving here, I competed in the category where one had to 'get into' it, that's to say, to have a certain weight. There is a formula there: your height minus 100, the result is multiplied by 0,9 coefficient. I had to get into 46 kg. And imagine in this competition I didn't need to starve and do everything I had to do while preparing for tournaments. In the world championship, I weighed about 54 kg, that's to say, it is a pure weight of muscles that was so good that the separation of fibres was seen for spectators. The judges appreciated this situation.

Another moment: I didn't know for sure what was evaluated more – muscles or their volume. Because now it's considered the more volume you have, the better it is anyway. In my opinion, such female bodybuilding crosses the limits a bit and becomes not very womanly, to put it mildly. I would like to change this balance, so that people would be more tolerant to this sport and understand that a woman with muscles can also be beautiful, womanly and harmonic.

''I am not a fan of a passive lifestyle''

Where do you find motivation to do this sport further on?

I always have motivation. Considering my character, temper and life principles, I always need to go somewhere, develop. And every preparation for competitions gives an opportunity to reveal some secret talent in myself, possibilities, and it always stimulates me. I am not a fan of a passive lifestyle. I feel the life hums only when there is some specific target.

Your sports is far from being easy.

If God gave me such qualities, probably it is important to me. Perhaps, it's not given to everybody, to tell the truth. If God gifted it to me, I need to do it.

Could you tell how such a fragile woman became a bodybuilder?

Well, it was much time ago. My 30 th jubilee as a bodybuilder is this year. I already was on the stage at the age of 19, while I started at 17 already. It's difficult to explain what brought me to the gym. My friend and I probably were looking for a possibility for self-fulfilment. It is a normal thing among teenagers. Somebody makes paintings, somebody goes to vocal classes, but I always understood that something different was waiting for me. When I was in search, there were basement gyms and only guys used to go there. And we weren't accepted there for long. We asked them to join them too much, and you see it wasn't in vain. I get only confirmation that I chose a right direction and career during all these years. This sport became my life, my profession and vocation.

''My 30 th jubilee as a bodybuilder is this year. I already was on the stage at the age of 19, while I started at 17 already.'' Photo:

What can you say about the decision of IOC on participation of Russia at 2018 Winter Olympics?

I will express my own opinion as an athlete. Athletes do sport, at the moment they are those who suffer the most because the situation is more political. And an athlete has his own specific task, he tries to achieve his own summits, aspires to it. This is why it's not correct at all.

Do I understand you correctly that you would compete as neutral?

It's difficult to say, it's a personal choice of each athlete. I don't know what I would do because I haven't asked myself this question. Speaking in general, every athlete should think of his own life principles and moral and ethical norms.

By Zulfat Shafigullin