In this month’s What’s Up Student Column, 22-year-old judoka Lisa Dengg from the University of Salzburg in Austria shares her story on her current training situation, how to stay motivated during the pandemic and what she is looking forward to most at EUG2021.
Hi Lisa! Firstly, what do you study, and how do you balance your study and training?
I am studying Sports and Human Movement Science at the University of Salzburg. I think training and studying compensate each other in a good way – if my head is full of learning and then I have training, I can free my mind. It also works the other way round: if my body is exhausted from training, then it can rest and it’s my brains turn to work.
How have you stayed motivated during the pandemic?
In the time of the pandemic, I have more time to do other things. In the first lockdown for example, I trained most of the time outside and I had more time to try new things. I explored the mountains, by feet and bike, but I also work on some deficits, which I have normally less time for.
What is one positive change that happened in 2020 due to the pandemic, that you would want to keep in future?
I think one positive thing which happened due to the pandemic is that people learned to look out more for each other. At the beginning, many young people for example helped older ones or people in quarantine by going shopping for them. I think it also made us somehow more creative. Restaurants or other working groups had to find new ways to sell their food and to supply others. But, also, us athletes had to find new ways to do our training at home. Another very important thing I have learned is how important your friends are. Normally it’s obvious to meet them, but when you aren’t allowed to, you notice how much you miss them and in general having contact with other people.
What are you looking forward to most in 2021?
I am looking forward to living a normal life again, to meeting with all my friends, to traveling and visiting other countries in order to train with others all over the world and of course also to compete in tournaments again.
What are your expectations for EUG2021 in Belgrade?
My expectations for the EUG are to have a great time at the event, to meet other people who do the same thing as I do – that is, training and studying – and to make new friends. And, of course, to give my best and hopefully compete well on my fight-day.
What is your message to European student-athletes like yourself?
My message is: Do what you love. You can only be an athlete in your young living years. If you are 80 years old, it could be difficult. However, being an athlete doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spend time doing other hobbies or educating yourself. It can also be a compensation from your everyday training life.