Name: Gaëlle Nayo-Ketchanke
D.O.B.: 20 April 1988
Bodyweight category: 75kg
Major medals (Total):
- 2015 European Weightlifting Championships (Tblisi, Georgia) – Silver
- 2016 European Weightlifting Championships (Førde, Norway) – Silver
- 2017 IWF World Championships (Anaheim, USA) – Bronze
- 2018 European Weightlifting Championships (Bucharest, Romania) – Silver
- 2018 XVIII Mediterranean Games (Tarragona, Spain) – Silver
- Snatch: 111kg
- Clean and Jerk: 137kg
- Total: 248kg
1 Snatch or clean & jerk?
Clean & jerk.
2. What do you like to listen to when training?
Radio for background music.
3. How many hours a week do you spend in the gym?
When I’m training with the national team it’s 30 hours per week; otherwise, I have to balance home and work so it’s about 20 hours per week.
4. What’s your favourite aspect of training?
All the preparation in general, but especially working hard and digging deep – I constantly challenge and push myself to the limit.
5. Which aspect of training do you hate the most?
Working on my weak points!
6. If there was one thing you could improve about your technique, what would it be?
Definitely the snatch, even though I improved a lot early on in my career.
7. What is your most memorable lift?
Without a doubt, the 2015 European Championships where I broke all my records. It was a perfect day and I really enjoyed competing against my rivals and ultimately claiming second place. Also, my Olympic qualification during the 2016 European Championships where – despite my injuries – I managed to get back to a fairly high standard with the support of my club coach and partner. It was pretty intense!
8. What achievements will allow you to retire happy?
Winning medals has been a huge achievement, especially as they were the first in my country for 25 years. Making my parents (who still live in Cameroon, Africa) proud; making my trainers proud. I thank God for all these things that are forever engraved in my memory. My ultimate aim is to train as hard as possible every day so that I’m in with a chance of qualifying for, and getting a medal at, the Tokyo Olympic Games.
9. Knowing what you know now, what one thing would you change in your first training routines?
There’s not much I’d change – I don’t cheat, I give 100%, and I trust my coaches. Ideally, I’d like to become professional which would change a lots of things – but this is not the case in France!
10. Who is the greatest weightlifter of all time?
11. What is the most important thing needed to be an Olympic weightlifter?
Humility, hard work and rigour are essential qualities – added to which is a desire to follow your dreams, have an open mind, and the ability to enjoy yourself.
1 Describe yourself in 3 words
Generous, hard-working and cheerful.
2. What other sports do you like to play?
Athletics, in particular the 100m, which I practised when starting out in Cameroon.
3. What is your favourite meal?
Eru – a Cameroonian specialty.
4. If you could only eat one type of one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
African cuisine, definitely something from my birthplace.
5. Describe your perfect day off.
Lunch with my family, a stroll and a browse in some shops. Ending with a meal at a great little restaurant near me in the south of France – on the seafront beneath the sunset.
6. Which person, alive or dead, would you like to have a conversation with?
Bernard Garcia, manager of my French Club Clermont Sports, who died of cancer in 2014. He was the dearest person to me, my second father, and I feel his loss deeply. He did everything for me and now with God watches over my career.
7. Name one skill you would like to learn
Maybe wisdom, even if it’s not exactly a skill.
8. Where is the one place you would like to visit?
9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Accept everything that happens to you as God’s will.
Acknowledge your failures with serenity and learn from them.
Watch Gaëlle takeover @iwfnet Instagram Stories next Wednesday 10 October, as she trains for the 2018 IWF World Championships in Ashgabat.