The Peruvian wrestler, Yanet Ursula Sovero Nino, who competed in the women’s freestyle 58kg event at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, gives us a glimpse of her life as an elite athlete
How did you get involved in wrestling?
When I was 17 years old, my sister used to practise wrestling while she was working at the Police offices. She invited me one day to practice with her and since then I fell in love with the sport and I am still practicing.
Who are your sporting heroes?
When I started doing the sport, I did not know the people who were stars in wrestling. One of our trainers used to speak about [two-time Olympic champion] John Smith and when I saw his videos I was fascinated. I said, “I want to wrestle like him, I want to be like him when I grow up”. I have always admired the way he wrestles and the way he gives everything.
What do you like the most – and the least – about being an elite athlete?
Travelling, competing… I love to represent my country; it is very fulfilling. When you have good results, listening to your national anthem in foreign countries is the nicest thing you can have as an athlete. At the same time, what I don’t like is all the pressure you have when you represent your country. Sometimes it is difficult to manage.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To be more persistent. Although ever since I started wrestling I have always been dedicated, persistent, disciplined and methodical in my training, but when you start, the defeats are always there and when I was sad, I stopped training for a couple of days. But now it is not the case, I would not lose one day or one moment in my bed. I would take advantage of it.
Do you have any superstitions before events?
No, I think that when you do things right, and you prepare yourself well, the results will come automatically.
What is the biggest compromise you have had to make while pursuing your wrestling career?
The biggest sacrifice and the saddest thing is to leave my son. Every time I travel, every season, every training session I do, I have to leave him as well as my family.
Photo: © 2016 / International Olympic Committee (IOC) / HUET, John – All rights reserved