Rising Star – December 2015
Sofia Asoumanaki of Greece i is a relative newcomer to the stage of international rowing. In 2014, at age 17, she raced at her first World Rowing regatta – the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in the women’s single sculls. That same season, she went on to finish fourth at the World Rowing Junior Championships in the single.
In March of this year, the rowing 'novice' stunned the world of rowing by breaking the indoor rowing world record by 13 seconds in the 17-18 age category. As the 2015 regatta season unfolded, Asoumanaki won her first international medal - silver at the World Rowing Junior Championships in the single. A few weeks later, her success was followed by another silver medal at the senior World Rowing Championships in the women’s double sculls with partner Aikaterini Nikolaidou.
As if medalling at senior level and qualifying her boat for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games wasn’t enough cause for celebration, Asoumaniki set yet another indoor rowing world record a few weeks ago at the Greek Indoor Rowing Championships. On 5 December, she broke her previous record of 6:30.2 in the 17-18 age category and set it at 6:28.2.
Read on to discover more about this exceptional athlete.
I discovered rowing… through two ex-rowers when we met at the beach playing beach volley during my summer holidays. They suggested I should try rowing.
If I was not rowing, my sport would be… swimming, which is the first sport I got involved with when I was two-and-a-half years old.
I’m motivated by… accomplishing my daily goals in training and aiming to be in the Olympic Regatta in Rio.
I was able to win World Championship silver medals this year (in the junior women’s single sculls and in the senior women’s double sculls), because… I worked too much the previous year and I was really wishing to leave with a medal from both regattas.
Aikaterini Nikolaidou and I make a good combination in the double because… she carries the experience, holding many world and European medals while I am new in the sport with a lack of experience but with strong will and motivation. What united us from the first moment is our mutual dread of the Rio Olympic Games and of course the excellent chemistry and communication between us in the boat.
I am fast on the indoor rowing machine because… my physical and psychological characteristics are helping me a lot both in training and racing.
My next goal on the indoor rowing machine is… to break the women’s world record in 2km.
The talent I wish I had… is to be able to run like a marathon runner.
My least favourite training session is… in the winter as there is not that much of competitive racing to break the routine.
Outside of rowing… I love going out for food with friends and try various cuisine and tastes from all over the world.
My non-rowing friends think that rowing is… a tough sport not for everyone to practice.
In my fridge, you will always find… chocolate and homemade lemonade.
The best thing in life right now is… only one thing and that is HEALTH.
My motto is… “everything happens for a reason.”
The result I am most proud of so far is… being included in the 11 first crews qualified for the Olympics.
My goal in rowing for 2016 is… the gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games.
In 10 years’ time… I will have completed my studies and maybe have formed my own family.