Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 25 June 2024

University Of Brighton Lecturer Provides Psychological Support For Elite Ukrainian Athletes

Senior lecturer Dr Anastasiya Khomutova worked as part of a team to support Ukrainian elite hurdlers as they train to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics

Dr Khomutova, course leader for Sport Coaching in the School of Sport and Health Sciences at University of Brighton, has provided in-person sport psychology support at the teams training camp in the UK, as well as keeping in touch with the athletes and their coach Gareth Walton outside of these times. 

This included educational sport psychology workshops concentrating on mental skills training in preparation for the season. 

Ukrainian national track and field athletes have been unable to train in Ukraine since the outbreak of war and have been attending training camps for longer periods outside the country. 

One of the camps is in Cardiff where Dr Khomutova has been working with 100m hurdler Hanna Chubkovtsova and 400m hurdlers Danylo Danylenko, Anastasiya Bryzgina and Nikita Rodchenkov. 

Dr Khomutova, who is Ukrainian herself, said: 

"My research background is cultural sport psychology such as working with immigrated athletes. 

"Some of my time is dedicated to explaining to both athletes and their coach Gareth, our cultural differences. 

"I also help to facilitate communication and help with translation which I used to do for a living prior to my academic career." 

Dr Khomutova found out about the Ukrainian athletes from Dr Mikel Mellick, psychologist and principal lecturer at Cardiff Met University where the training camp is based. 

She offered her help with psychological support which could be delivered in the athletes" native language.  

She added: 

"The athletes and their coach Gareth have a great support around them. We started to work as a team, helping and supporting each other, and it has been an amazing experience.  

"I am grateful that I have an opportunity to do something for my home country. The journey to support Ukrainian athletes and work with Cardiff Met University has been an amazing opportunity. 

"I am looking forward to the next steps and to see where the journey will take us all!" 

The athlete's coach Gareth Walton said: 

"Meeting and working with Anastasiya has been such an insightful experience allowing for an enhanced cultural understanding of Ukraine ways and methods of the Ukraine National Athletics Team members we have been working together to support. 

"Anastasiya has allowed me to enhance further a variety of skills that are so important for effective daily coaching, whether this being face to face or remote." 

by: Mike Cobley


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