As part of our new series, we have interviewed members of the European Athletics Young Leaders Youth Team.
They were all nominated by their federations to take part in the Young Leaders Forum in Amsterdam last summer and are all recognised as potential leaders of our sport in years to come.
The European Athletics Young Leaders Community is a platform for active young and ambitious people who are interested in developing work and life skills, getting involved in community service and making new friends.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Chiara Montesano and I’m an Italian athlete. I started athletics when I was six years old and I fell in love with this sport immediately. I’m not so good at competing so I decided to become involved with track and field as a photographer and a volunteer.
Since 2013 I have been a reporter for Trackarena Italia. My role is to take photographs during the competitions and I also write articles and conduct interviews. I’m also a volunteer for the Rieti Meeting and I’m trying to learn how to organise big events such as the one previously mentioned. I’m still running and I manage my club’s communications and, in particular, I post articles on our website and I share them on social media.
How did you become involved with the European Athletics Young Leaders Community?
The Italian Athletics Federation chose me as the Italian representative for the European Athletics Young Leaders Forum that was being held in Amsterdam at the same time of the European Championships last summer.
During the forum I met a lot of interesting and engaging people from various countries Europe, so I decided to continue my adventure with some of them.
What is your favourite thing about athletics?
There are a lot of things that I like about athletics but the one that I love the most is that in this sport your own limits are the only enemies you could possibly have. If you can break them down, you win.
Who is your athletics hero and why?
Jesse Owens is my athletics hero. Not only because he won four gold medals at the Olympics but because he showed the world that we are all humans and that there is no racial divide between human beings. He was not only one of the best athletes in the world, he was also brave and fearless.
Which areas of the sport are you particularly interested in?
There are quite a few areas of the sport that I’m interested in; I’d like to learn how a big sporting event is organised and how volunteers work together to make the perfect event.
I’m also interested in media and communication and I hope I will be able to work in this area to be a reporter. Anti-doping is also interesting for me, and I’d like to make people aware of how drugs affect the human body.
If you could change one aspect of the sport, what would you change and why?
I’d like to remove doping from the sport. Doping is dangerous because it poses a serious threat both to the psychological and physical well-being of the athlete. It is also unfair because everyone should compete without any external aid. I’d like to make athletes understand they can break their limits without consuming harmful substances that can even kill them.
Many people think that doping should not be allowed only for ethical reasons, but the the real threat is that of exposing the body to future health problems.
Where do you see yourself within the sport in ten years’ time?
In ten years’ time I see myself working as a journalist for a big athletics newspaper or website. Another possibility would be working with national and international federations in order to contribute to athletics. My aim is to make athletics one of the most important sports in the world, as it was some years ago.
What has been your highlight of Young Leaders so far?
Working with the Young Leaders, I’ve met a lot of interesting people who love athletics as much as I do and who really want to a difference. It is really important to work with other people that want to achieve your own goals.