Nurlan Dombayev believes there is no shortcuts to success. His motto is to keep working hard and never be lackadaisical in his approach.
Riding on these traits, Dombayev is aiming to become Kazakhstan’s one of the first Paralympic champions in Para taekwondo, when the sport makes its debut at Tokyo 2020. Kazakhstan will field three Para taekwondo athletes at Tokyo.
A two-time world champion, three-time Asian and two-time European champion, Dombayev is keen to add the Paralympic title to his glittering cabinet.
“I am very proud to be able to represent Kazakhstan at the Paralympic Games. It is a big honour for me. Every Para athlete’s dream is to win at the Paralympic Games. But as they say, everything is in the hands of God. I will give my best to raise the flag of Kazakhstan high and bring a gold medal to my country,” said the top ranked player in the K43 category (up to 75 kg).
“I believe in training diligently, listening to my coach and following his instructions. The main thing is not to be sluggish and always be on the move. I believe that by following this motto, it is possible to achieve success.”
The year 2019 belonged to Dombayev. He was on a roll, winning gold medals at the World Championships in Turkey, Asian Open Championships in Jordan and European Open Championships in Italy and silver at the African Championships in Egypt.
The following year went dry with no competitions owing to COVID-19 pandemic.
Dombayev, whose both hands are amputated, admitted that 2020 was a difficult year but he kept his calm, stayed patient and trained at home and waited for the good times to return.
“I believe one of the most important things that one needs to develop as an athlete is the ability to remain calm and composed. That is why I am trying to be focused and cool headed.
“The year 2020 was challenging. I have been unable to do sport-specific training, due to the Covid restrictions. Consequently, I have resorted to training at home, often without supervision or specialist equipment. But it gave me opportunity to stay fit and in a good state of health. I have used the additional year to refine my skills and improve my physical shape.
“Now training centres have opened up and I have returned to my regular training routine. I train every day, and before Paralympics I am planning to be training twice a day. We are more than ready for the upcoming games and hope to make our supporters back home happy by winning the medals.”
Dombayev’s road to glory at Tokyo 2020 will face challenges from 12 competitors and he stressed that every one of them are medal contenders.
“The challenge will be tough at Tokyo. There will 12 competitors from around the world competing against me in the Paralympic Games. I am sure that every single one of them will give their all. Every country will send their best athletes to the competition. However, players from Iran, Turkey, and Mexico will be very tough. They have been performing quite well recently.”
‘MAIN RIVAL IS MYSELF’
For Dombayev, every aspect of his life motivates him to strive for his dreams.
“I push myself to wake up early, to train harder, accomplish daily goals. I believe that in life there is only one main rival and that is myself. I cannot let myself be lazy and stand in one place, while seeing other Para athletes achieve their goals in their sport careers,” he said.
The 39-year-old started practicing taekwondo at a very young age and went on to participate in local championships.
“But it was not until 2012 when I saw a video of my close friend from Taraz, who won the Asian Championship, that I have decided to take sport more seriously and try my luck in the international competitions. And since then, I have been training very hard to show my skills and dedication to taekwondo on the big stages.
“Now my only aim is to become one of the best players in Para taekwondo,” he signed off.