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Six-time World Champion Natascha Badmann, 52, will be a star attraction at the IRONMAN Goa 70.3 on October 20. As the Swiss triathlete gears up to compete on Indian soil for the first time, she makes time for a quick chat with NT BUZZ

Goa gears up for the Iron Lady

Danuska Da Gama

Known as a legend in the field of women’s triathlons, Natascha Badmann was not just the first European to win the IRONMAN Triathlon, but also a six-time World Champion.

She stopped competing professionally in 2016 after a fall that lead to several operations and a year long recovery period. But she is now on the scene again and will be at Goa’s maiden IRONMAN Goa 70.3 event as one of the oldest competitors, her long and illustrious career might reach the finish line soon, but the lady won’t stop what she loves doing and will continue to be a living inspiration and legend.

Excerpts from an interview with Badmann:

Q. Why did you take up endurance

racing?

This might be a surprise to you, but I started getting interest in the sport when I was 23. I was overweight and overworked due to stress and never did any physical exercise until Toni, who is my partner and coach motivated me to run. I started enjoying the sport and it became a profession eventually.

Q. Building endurance is no easy task and takes a lot of time. What challenges did you face? And how did you keep up to your goal?

My first real setback was accident in 2007 during IM WC Kona (Hawaii). I broke both shoulders, ribs, and had two surgeries. Doctors said I could race or swim again. There were many challenges but I worked to overcome them. It took me around seven years. I finished sixth in Kona, 2012, and this was a huge confidence boost for me.

Q. From racing to now inspiring others to participate, you’ve come a long way…

It has been a good journey so far and I have learned so much from the experiences that I have had over the years. I like to pass this knowledge on. I like to do inspirational speeches and motivate people.

Q. Why did you decide to participate in IRONMAN Goa 70.3, the first-ever official Ironman triathlon to take place in India?

I am extremely excited to be visiting India for its first ever IRONMAN 70.3, I am also looking forward to motivating and inspiring all the athletes who will be participating at the Goa IRONMAN 70.3.

After achieving success and experiencing thrilling moments in my career so far – it is now my aim and passion to inspire more and more people to try and participate in Ironman events.

Also, I see it as a big challenge as it will be very humid. I can influence my attitude to heat, humidity, and unclear seawater but not to the road conditions. I hope they are not too bad. Otherwise, I might bring my Gravel Bike instead of my new Ventum.

Q. After having given up competing, how do you spend your time?

For many years we had a dog. He was my running buddy. Now I do some work in the garden. I plant my own vegetables and take care of our fruit trees. In the colder weather, I like to stay indoors and paint.

Q. How are you preparing for the race in

India?

The key aspect of preparing is high intensity training and to have a sustainable nutrition plan in place. Nutrition and hydration are extremely important to participate in an Ironman event. Consumption of Red Bull helps me a lot during training as it contains a variety of ingredients, including caffeine and vitamins, which provides a boost in my energy and performance.

Since it is cold in Switzerland, and I know it will be hot in India, I’ve been wearing some more clothes than I usually would daily.

Q. What else are you looking forward to in Goa- India?

I have heard so many great things about India, especially the enthusiastic crowd. I am hoping to witness that and I am sure it will be an experience that I will cherish for a lifetime. Also, the change in climate from the cold of Switzerland to the heat and humidity of India will be a challenge that I am focused on.

I look forward to an exciting race and a test of my endurance and skills.

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