Martina Moravcova came a long way from small town Piestany in her native Slovakia to making her mark on the international swimming stage for no less than 16 years.
Addressing a 380-strong audience at the Aspire Zone's swimming pool on December 4, 2014 where the FINA / Doha 2014 Youth programme is taking place, the FINA Athletes Commission member delivered an important message to the young swimmers and their coaches, representing more than 130 countries.
"You might think that because your country doesn't offer the same training conditions than any other swimming powerhouse, you won't be successful but in the end, it's you who set those goals to accomplish something."
"I grew up swimming in a 25m-pool that had green, murky water due to lack of filtration. Sometimes at night it started raining before we finished training and I ended up swimming in 30 centimeters of water! I survived, it made me a better swimmer, more efficient maybe," she added.
A young swimmer sitting in the front raw, visibly touched by the story, could not retain his tears.
Most of the swimmers taking part in the Youth Programme were barely born when Moravcova was at her prime in the 2000s. The medley, butterfly and freestyle specialist, whose both parents were swimmers, started her international career in 1992 at the Barcelona Olympics at 16.
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