Country: Montenegro

Profession: Athlete – Decathlon

Career highlights:

  • 2x European Indoor Championships finalist (2017 and 2021)
  • 2019 Games of the Small States of Europe Bronze medallist –110m hurdles and Pole vault
  • 2014 Games of the Small States of Europe Gold medallist – Decathlon
  • 2013 Jeux de la Francophonie Silver medallist – Decathlon
  • Outdoor National records: 110mH, Pole vault, Long jump, Decathlon
  • Indoor National records: 1000m, 60mH, High jump, Pole vault, Long jump, Heptathlon

In your conversation with Spikes, you said “In Montenegro, very few people know about the sport (athletics)”, so how were you introduced to the sport?

During physical education class at school the teacher took us to a room to do High Jump but there were very bad sponges for mats and we had to use a curtain rod as a bar! But, somehow, out of those bad conditions, a love for athletics was born. Then, watching the big stars on TV strengthened that love and I wanted to one day be on the big stage, at the Olympics.

Can you tell us two or three interesting facts about the culture of Montenegro?

First fact is, the mother and sister is a holy being in our culture – the mother is at the top of the pyramid, and she is most loved, respected, and she is the pillar of the family. We are a very hospitable people; the guest becomes the boss of the house while they are visiting. We are also said to be a lazy people, we wake up at 12 in the afternoon and say good morning. Although I personally am not like that😊.

Often, the winner of the Decathlon is awarded the title ‘World’s Greatest Athlete’! What makes the decathlon such a tough event?

In my language, decathlon means “10 battles”. 10 times, in two days, a warrior goes out on the battlefield, proud, injured, defeated, satisfied, less satisfied, but always with the belief that in the end he will win. The warrior must remain firmly on the ground and be humble, but also in defeat he must remain positive and brave because in the end it will bring the final score. In such moments, physical struggle is negligible because there is a mental struggle – the hardest one. A Decathlete knows the best what blood, sweat, suffering, hard work, love, friendship and values are… That is why a decathlete is called “the greatest athlete in the world” and no one in the world deserves that title more than a decathlete, rightfully so.

What would competing at the Olympics mean to you?

Going to the Olympics will certainly be the crown of my career. I believe I am worth a medal in some of the next competitions, but if I do not go to the Olympics, those medals will not have full glory. Only the chosen, the most persistent and the most courageous have the opportunity to find themselves on the stage of the world once every 4 years, where the world will stop and admire the gods and goddesses during the Olympic Games.

We are interested in the pole vault – please can you describe for us what it feels like to be that high up hanging onto a pole!

Pole vault…haha… I’m not a good vaulter. Probably great vaulters will tell you that it is such a nice feeling, but in my case, my bad technique will tell you that is not really a very comfortable position for your head, where in one moment you see the world upside down and pray to not end in the PV box hahahha!!

Anyways, I can tell you even like that, I’m still enjoying my way of jumping and always looking forward to improving in this beautiful event. I don’t know if I’m going to make it one day to look like I’m really pole vaulting but for sure I will enjoy the journey of learning and enjoying it in my upside-down way. 🙃

Your personal best is just shy of the Olympics qualifying standard, but you believe higher rankings can help you achieve your Olympic dream – what are your thoughts on qualification standards?

My personal record is far from the Olympic standard on paper, but in the body it is not very far. I have it all, but unfortunately at the end of this month I suffered an Achilles tendon injury, and I was forced to take a break and postpone my Olympic dream to Paris 2024.

It was a difficult decision as I pushed the boundaries in my training so far; but every athlete has to face the fact that when you are in the best shape of your life, then you are on the edge of a cliff. Unfortunately, I fell off a cliff, which doesn’t mean I won’t get up, I’ll get up and climb to the top of Olympus one day, I know that, and I believe in it.

I don’t think the qualification standards are fair, it’s not right for decathletes for several reasons:

1) 24 decathletes can perform, in other disciplines there is a minimum of 32. Why, when it is generally known that 20% of decathletes do not finish the competition for one reason or another?

2) The conditions in Montenegro for athletics are not good, and we lack the equipment needed, so it is impossible to do decathlon. I believe that such a situation exists in at least another 30% of the world.

3) By reducing the number of participants in the decathlon, in a few years our sport will be destroyed. Only decathlon athletes who have the best conditions, who have the support of their countries and who can attend the strongest meetings to collect extra points, will be able to compete.

That is why my proposal is to return the number of athletes to 32 if not higher, lower the qualification norms to 8150-8200 points, I think that is the best solution, because athletics is a sport for everyone and not only for those who have the best working conditions and athletics traditions.

Quick fire questions (please choose which one you like better in each pair)        

  1. Cats or dogs?  Uhhhh… Both I’m an animal lover
  2. Sea holiday or Mountain holiday? The sea
  3. Books or movies? Movies
  4. Wine or beer?  Beer

What is the WORST advice you have ever been given?

Hmmm… The worst advice I have received are zodiac tips 😊

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