Ukraine’s Viktoriya Koval enjoyed a fruitful archery career that included several World Cup medals, a bronze at the 2007 Indoor World Championships and an appearance at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008. Now, however, she is more focused on representing the interests of her fellow archers within the Olympic Movement and shaping the future of the sport.
What inspired you to want to represent your fellow athletes as part of the World Archery Athletes Committee?
I enjoyed being a part of the international archers’ community – we’re all friends – and I wanted to play an active role in that big archery family, knowing about all the important news and changes that take place at world and national levels.
What does the World Archery Athletes’ Committee do to support its athletes?
We discuss a lot of important topics, such as the latest rules and the needs of our archers. We then give proposals to World Archery or their various committees. We also share information with active archers about the various programmes that are available to them, like scholarships or post-sport career advice.
What inspired you to run for chair?
I like our great sport and I wanted to help make it better. As chair, you become a member of the World Archery Executive Board, so you are able to make an even greater difference.
What is your vision for the future of your committee?
We need to protect the interests of archers both on the field and off the field. And we also want to help make archery more popular throughout the world.
What are your committee’s short and long-term goals?
In the short-term, we are discussing rule changes, ensuring we have a friendly atmosphere among all competitors and a strong connection with World Archery. We are also focusing on providing athletes with all the necessary information on topics such as doping, education and other programmes, particularly for young archers.
In the long-term, we are aiming for a stronger connection with the IOC, other International Federations and WADA. We also want to help establish athletes’ committees within all national federations.
How do you think an increasingly connected global network of athletes’ committees from different IFs and NOCs can work together to strengthen the voice of the athletes within the Olympic Movement?
We have the same problems, no matter what sport. All of us are fighting issues such as doping, which are discrediting sport as a whole. We need to work together to better communicate clean sport, especially to young athletes, and have a strong answer for those who break the rules. Working closely with athletes from different sports is very important as we can learn from each other and create new possibilities.