15 Nov Athlete in Focus: Futsal MVP Irina Dubytska
Ukrainian captain believes in living life to the fullest
LAUSANNE — She’s fun and feisty, much like her sport. It’s not every day that the Most Valuable Player at a tournament is not from the gold medal winning team, but that’s how good the Ukrainian captain’s performance was at the recently concluded FISU World University Futsal Championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Even as her team finished second to Russia, Irina Dubytska stole the show with a spirited performance.
Meet this fascinating student athlete from the National University of Physical Education and Sport in Kiev, from whom winning individual glory wasn’t enough – she rues the fact that the Ukrainian women lost the finals to Russia.
“Knowing our team’s potential, we should have striven to win,” she tells FISU ruefully. “We have been working so hard with the entire team. For me personally, I was driven with desire to give the best for my team and my country.”
The final result may not have gone her way, but she says she revelled in the friendly atmosphere and unique experiences of the World University Championship. “During the Opening Ceremony, we all felt like participants of the Olympic Games. It was really such a great show!” she laughs. “It was perfectly organised and because all 25 teams were accommodated in the same hotel, we made so many new friends and shared such amazing experiences. I was amazed by the number of participants – this means Futsal is developing in the world!”
There is not doubt that Futsal is witnessing a rapid growth in popularity, but according to the Ukrainian student team captain, there is still a long way to go in her home country. She believes that Ukrainian Futsal is developing, but needs greater infusion of funding and support.
“But that doesn’t doesn’t stop us from being ranked number 8 in the world!” she adds quickly.
The admiration and respect they earn from their male counterparts is also a shot in the arm to these young women who compete day-to-day in what was traditionally considered a ‘male sport’. Luckily, that mindset is changing.
“Basically we speak the same language,” she says of their camaraderie with the male players. “In daily life I feel more and more respect from male players. And this support motivates me a lot!”
For the moment, the 24-year-old’s focus is firmly on sport. Irina is currently at a national training camp, where she and her team are getting ready for the the qualifying stage of the 2019 European Championship. And somewhere on the horizon she sees herself representing Ukraine at the Olympics.
“I hope Futsal will be included in the Olympic program, so I will be able to represent Ukraine at the highest level,” Irina expresses her wish.
With Futsal set to be featured in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, that dream may not be that farfetched. Moreover, many of football’s big stars grew up playing Futsal, including football legend Lionel Messi. So, there is good reason to think the future holds great promise, especially if one believes in it.
“My motto is: if you want something, go and achieve it!” Irina Dubytska concludes, summarising her attitude to life.
It is this very attitude that helps her maintain an easy balance between sports and academics.
Along with her busy competition schedule, Irina is also keenly focused on studying Physical Rehabilitation, which she believes will help her in her current career as an athlete and also later, as a professional.
She says her university schedule allows her to train and compete, and also attend classes comfortably.
Irina Dubytska is a fine example for young female athletes who want to work hard, play hard and live life queen size.