After two years of pandemic in which Romanians' morale has dropped dramatically, against the background of the war in neighboring Ukraine which makes the headlines from morning till evening, every day, and all this at a time when the lives of ordinary citizens are increasingly marked by financial instability......in all this rather confusing context, this week's news, from swimming, had a more than invigorating effect: wonderful things happen too!
The joy is even greater as the Romanian sport had entered, for some time, a shadow cone. Football, gymnastics or athletics, which once carried the country's fame around the world, have regressed to such an extent that Romania's representatives only add one failure after another. The circle is vicious - poor results lead to a decrease in funding from the state budget, and insufficient funding is directly proportional to the results obtained.
In swimming, however, his talent and hard work, the support of his parents and his coach Adrian Rădulescu brought to the 17 year old David Popovici two world titles at the FINA World Championships in Budapest ; a first since 1973. For 49 years no swimmer had won the 100-meter and 200-meter events at the same World Championships!
With 47 seconds and 58 hundredths, David Popovici became, on Wednesday evening, the world champion in the 100 meters freestyle, considered the queen of swimming. It is so fast that the athlete does not have time for strategies or to correct any mistakes. But let's relive the moment of victory in the Hungarian capital:
"This is the fight! Popovici on the 4th aisle! It's crazy! Popovici and Edwards, Edwards has a slight lead. Popovici has the second half of the pool strong! Popovici is second, the Frenchman Grousset is first. Come on David, last length! David Popovici is the world champion! Amazing victory for David Popovici!"
Just two days before, on Monday, the high school student who wakes up at 4 in the morning to train, had won the title in the 200 meters freestyle event, setting a new record for juniors. But does David Popovici say?
"It wasn't a competition for which we trained extraordinarily hard, this makes me even more optimistic about what might happen in the near future, but I would be lying if I said that I was not in a good condition, in a good competitive shape. I was, only I didn't know and I think it's a good thing, that I can still be surprised".
Romania is happy, despite the modest conditions that the State has provided to transform the remarkable talent of the young athlete into what David Popovici is today: a great champion! Next this summer are the European Junior Championships in Romania, the European Championships in Rome and the Junior World Championships in Lima. (MI)