Published 27.10.2017 | Topic: Warriors
Meet our new Warrior Coffee Ambassador: Nooralotta Neziri! Nooralotta is a Finnish hurdler and the current Finnish record holder in 100 meters hurdles. She is the first Finnish woman to run under 13 seconds in 100 meters hurdles. She has achieved a lot as an athlete. Where from did the career as a hurdler start? And how does she prefer her coffee?
I’m Nooralotta Neziri, a hurdler from Finland, and I am a Warrior. Here is my story of how I became an athlete. I'm also going to tell you, what kind of role coffee plays in my everyday life.
I started track and field when I was 8 years old. We moved to a new locality in Pori. A year earlier our family was in a horrible car accident when our car hit a moose. This left my mom permanently paralyzed. The car accident changed our plans for the future, so we moved to a new neighbourhood in Pori. We ended up in Kyläsaari, which is a small village in Pori. From the dirt track in Kyläsaari, it started; my track and field career.
Many people have asked me: “Did you already then have a dream of an Olympic medal?”. The answer is no - I did not. I couldn’t even imagine, how it could be possible! I had seen the women running in television and their size terrified me. When I was 16 I didn’t want to go to the gym because I didn’t want to look like the other sprinters did… You must know that gym workouts are my favourite nowadays!
When I turned 16, I started to understand my capability to become a world-class hurdler. In the end of summer season 2008, I was ranked third in my age group in the world's statistics. In 2009 I ran the national record and I won European Youth Olympic Festival. (EYOF is a competition for young athletes, where they have a possibility to learn about the Olympic Movement and its values. It’s a great chance for young athletes to learn, how to compete on a professional international level and how the system works.)
My shape was ascending but I had some difficulties as well. I achieved a lot, made my personal and national records but I also had rough times. For example, I had a toe surgery. The toe got infected and it had to be treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics led me to harmful side effects and I was sick ALL the time. The year I had the toe surgery, I set my main goal for the upcoming season; I was going to win a medal at U20 World Championships in Canada. I ended up in 5th place and the disappointment was HUGE. After that, I decided to win the gold medal in Youth European Championships the next year - and guess what? I DID! Earlier disappointment erased.
At that time coffee became part of my life. I felt very tired all the time so I started to boost myself with different energy drinks. I didn’t enjoy the taste and spending money for that felt like a waste, so I learned to drink coffee. Caffeine woke me up before my performance. On those days I didn’t care too much about how I prepared my coffee or what was in my cup. I just drank it black, hoping the caffeine kicks in as quickly as possible.
Later on, I started to pay attention to coffee’s quality and especially its taste. I still drink my coffee black – I just take my time to enjoy it.
So let’s get back to my career. After the U20 times, the year 2016 was the most amazing year of my career so far. I can’t even describe it with words, how amazing it felt to make my dreams come true. Almost every performance I did was faster than ever before. I won hurdlers, whom I had never won before. I got to represent Finland in Olympic Semi-Finals. I had set foot in becoming a world top athlete.
Always things don't go as planned. Last autumn I started to have big problems that affected my wellbeing. I continuously suffered from small injuries and health problems, such as stomach flu and fever. My body and my mind couldn’t perform as they should when you are a top athlete. In summer 2017 I had to drop out my season, which was a tough decision for an athlete to make. Now I have had a good rest and my eyes are in the future and upcoming seasons. My career as an athlete is going to be even more successful.
Because I am a Warrior!
- Nooralotta Neziri
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