« It’s like you start from zero » says the +68 kg World champion of Greece, Eleni Chatziliadou. « It has changed all of us and affected us badly in all our lives », comments Ali Elsawy, of Egypt, multiple African champion.

But both champions are still getting ready for their Olympic dreams. Their mindset their look for the future, the way they have changed since the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic. They tell us how they feel whereas they should have been in Dubai for the 25th World championships.

By Ludovic Mauchien / Photos : Kphotos


Eleni Chatziliadou : « It’s like you start from zero »

« It’s difficult to say. I think someone plays with our minds. I am just trying to stay strong and positive. In the 1st wave of corona, I had the most difficult time because each day I was afraid that the qualification process will stop and all I could think at that moment was the fact that all those sacrifices and the money I had spent the last 2 years were all for nothing. Then they announced that next year will reopen the ranking and I can fight for my qualification via ranking. Then I started to be better. Now, we have the 2nd wave of corona and, again, we are not sure about anything.

It’s hard to motivate myself when I don’t know the competitions dates and what will happen if this situation continues. After 9 months is like you start from zero and, in some months, the Olympic Games will start ».

Ali Elsawy : « A lot of federations organize competitions… »

« 9 months is too much ! I couldn’t imagine that we wouldn’t compete for 9 months. Last year, we needed a rest as we had two competitions per month. I know this happen because of Covid-19. But I hope the WKF finds solutions for this problem. A lot of sports federations organize competitions ».


Eleni Chatziliadou : « Ohh yes !!! As Platon says… »

« Ohh yes !!! After all those things I am looking at life in a different way. All my life, the karate-goals for me were everything in my life. I felt empty without them in my life.

Now, I realize that I must find peace in my life without them because when I will really quit my competition career, it will then be hard to find the balance in my life. As Platon says : « what is worthwhile is not to live to get more but to live well ».

Ali Elsawy : « this epidemic changed all of us »

« Let us agree that this epidemic changed all of us and affected us badly in all our lives. But if he was going to talk about myself, it would have killed me and hurt me. But I am a positive person trying to benefit from the crisis. And I wish we all got out of it ».


Eleni Chatziliadou : « why not a second World title ? »

« First of all, I will keep trying to get qualified for the Olympic Games and, why not a second World title ? I owe it to myself and to my family. When I will quit competing, I want to create new goals for my future, to enjoy my life as a normal person, having a good job career, creating my new home, getting married with my boyfriend and creating a family. All the things that normal people do !!! ».

Ali Elsawy : « I only think about the Olympics »

« Right now, I only think about the Olympics. This my future. I am disrupting my studies to be focus on my Olympic dream. It helps me to success in this semester in University as karate took all my time ».


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