Humans of Olympics: Meet former Bulgarian canoeist Martin, who will represent Australia at Rio

Humans of Olympics V: Meet Bulgarian canoeist, Martin, who has train the Australian and Chinese teams and will make a come back at the Olympics this year.

Shrenik Avlani August 09, 2016 18:26:28 IST
Humans of Olympics: Meet former Bulgarian canoeist Martin, who will represent Australia at Rio

Humans of Olympics Meet former Bulgarian canoeist Martin who will represent Australia at Rio

Martin Marinov was an ace canoeist in the late 1980s and won Olympic medals for Bulgaria in flatwater canoeing in 1988. In 1992 and 1996, Marinov became a coach for Australian canoeing team and then moved to China in the early 2000s, where the canoeing team was 150-strong.

Gradually, the team was weeded out and his role as a coach diminished because he started competing again. Now, he trains just one Chinese canoeist, Li Qiang, who he assures will win a medal at Rio.

He is also making a comeback to the Olympics as an athlete for Australia. “The canoeists I train in China and Australia ask me not to beat them at the Games. They say it would be hard to digest the fact that they were beaten by a grandpa,” jokes the 48-year-old former Mr Bulgaria.

Over the mile-high gin and tonic on an Etihad flight to Sao Paulo with the Chinese team, he jokes about the fact that when he was winning medals, the media had little interest in him but now that he is competing again at this age, he is getting more air time and more attention from the media than ever before both in Australia and China.

Apart from training Qiang, he also acts as a translator for the Chinese team. He enjoys being with the Chinese team but when it comes to food that they offer, he says, “They eat all kinds of things…I don’t trust them.” All through the flight, the Chinese canoeists offered him food to pull his leg and he turned down all of it. In the picture, Marinov is at the Sao Paulo airport at the end of his 28-hour flight from Shanghai.

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