Now a mother, Fialkova is motivated like a youngster

After taking a season off to give birth to her daughter Romana, Paulina Batovska Fialkova is working hard to get back in the shape that saw her collect nine podiums in the World Cup. The help of her baby daughter, who sleeps tight at night, and her husband and family are the cornerstone of her plans for the coming winter.

How are you feeling? How is the first 'taste' of being back in full training?

I feel good and motivated like a young biathlete. At first, the training was tough, but I can sense that I am slowly getting into the workflow again.

How has your pregnancy been? And how much have you been enjoying being a mother since Romana entered your life?

The first months of my pregnancy were tiring. I felt very exhausted, and I didn't think about sports at all. But in the second part of pregnancy, I got a lot of energy and started doing some leisurely activities. I enjoy being the mum of Romana very intensely. She is my sunshine - even on rainy days. We found our system very quickly. I am very thankful that she has been cooperative since her birth.

After a lifetime in biathlon, how was it to be out of the tour for a full season? Did you watch some competitions? Did you miss it?

I didn't miss the training too much 😄. But when the season kicked off - and I watched competitions on TV - I started to miss the competitive buzz. I watched every competition minimum twice and analysed some details 😄 I never did it before.

When you announced your pregnancy last year, you did not reveal plans for the future. We often see, nowadays, women athletes who plan their return and keep training until close to giving birth. What was your approach to this part of your life? When did you decide on a comeback?

After the season 2022/2023, I felt it was not the right time to say goodbye to biathlon. I just knew I needed some changes in my life (both mentally and physically). I felt burnt out a little bit. I made no comeback plans during the pregnancy, though. I kept easy activities until giving birth. But I felt no need to take my rifle in my hand. Firstly, I wanted to see how my daughter would be, and how I managed to be a mother first. After that, I started to think about training and competing again. Since my Romi is perfect, and I get enough sleep - I feel it is actually possible to get into training again.

What is now the plan for the summer/autumn? And have you already figured out the logistics of being a mum on tour?

In the summer, I will have several camps in Austria and Osrblie, I am joining the men's and junior's teams with my old-new coach, Martin Bajčičák. I will travel with my husband or with my parents like au pairs. We will see how my training and logistics will work together.

If it works smoothly, I plan to start the season according to the schedule. But it will also be fine if I start the season later in the winter. We will do a few tests to see the reality: to check my shape. And I want to have my baby with me for some World Cups. The time will tell.

With many great examples in the recent past and now a few current - with Justine Braisaz-Bouchet and Baiba Bendika - have you talked to some other biathlon-mums?

Justine and Baiba have been even stronger athletes since becoming mothers, so they are an inspiration to me. But not every mum can be back stronger, that is why I don’t want to have big expectations. I talked earlier also to Anais Chevalier-Bouchet and some other athletes - mums from different sports. And everyone says that we need to sacrifice family to make it all possible.

Header iconA new biathlon comeback mum - Paulina Batovska Fialkova

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