Our #SetantaStudentSpotlight continues Ottavia Cestonaro, an Italian Pro Triple Jumper. Ottavia started studying our Diploma in Personal Training and S&C in March. We had the chance to catch up with her and find out more about her life, her athletics career, and why she chose Setanta College.
Can you give us an insight into your own background and your athletics career?
My name is Ottavia Cestonaro, I’m 26 years old and I’m from Northern Italy. I love sports and anything related to physical activity. I also enjoy studying, I have two Bachelor’s degrees: one in Forestry and Environmental Technologies at the University of Padua, and another in Exercise Science at the University of Verona.
I’ve been involved in athletics all my life as sport has always been an important part of our family. Growing up, my dad coached several track & field events and now he is now my triple jump coach. My dad has helped me become a professional athlete and now I compete for the Italian National Team and C.S. Carabinieri (one of the Italian military corps).
How did you end up choosing triple jump out of all the different track and field events?
When I was a child, I practiced many of the different track & field events. Up until the age of 23, I competed in different events including heptathlons and pentathlons and I won several National Titles.
Growing up, my father (my coach) was a firm believer that early specialisation wasn’t the way to go. Instead, I practiced and competed in many different sports up until a certain point. We then mutually decided that I had to make a choice to specialise in a single sport in order to become competitive at an international level. I tried the triple jump for fun and it immediately sparked my interest. The triple jump is a mix of power and lightness, speed and strength, coordination, and primal instinct. When I started competing in the triple jump, I started seeing my results become better and better over such a short amount of time, and therefore everything became even more natural.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
I’m 35 x National Champion (youth and senior) in triple jump/combined events and my PB is 14.18m. In 2013 I won the U20 European Championships in Rieti, Italy. I competed in major international championships such as European Championships (Berlin 2018 Outdoor, Torun 2021 Indoor), World Championships (Doha 2019), Military World Championships (silver medal in 2019), Mediterranean Games (silver medal in 2018), European Team Championships (bronze medal in 2019) and many other youth international competitions where I won several medals. I hope to be able to compete for several more years at an international level and to have other unforgettable experiences.
Are there any athletes or coaches that inspire you?
There are several athletes and coaches that inspire me. I think it is important to learn from other fellow athletes and I do believe that we all motivate each other. Every athlete has a story to tell, it is great to hear how other athletes got to where they are today how they overcome any obstacles or setbacks that come their way. The concept of resilience comes from the strength that every athlete shows when he/she gets up after a defeat or a setback to reach his/her ultimate goals. I appreciate coaches who call themselves educators rather than exercise scientists. The values and benefits related to sport and physical activity are significantly more important than the final results.
What is the best piece of advice you have received so far in your sporting career?
“Never stop learning, because life and sport never stop teaching”.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of athletics?
On my few days off I like to spend time relaxing with my family, my boyfriend, and my friends. I enjoy going on walks in the fresh air, watching movies, shopping, visiting new places or simply relaxing by myself and, on occasion, I enjoy going to parties. As previously mentioned, I already have two Bachelor’s degrees, so learning is something that I continuously like to engage in.
What are the short-term goals you’d like to accomplish in the next 2/3 years? What is your ultimate achievement/motivation in athletics?
My biggest dream is to compete at the Olympics and I’m working hard every day to make this happen as soon as possible! I’d love to compete at an international level for several more years. Hopefully, all the hard work that my team and I put in will continue paying off.
What does a typical day of training look like for you?
I wake up early and have breakfast. Then I have my first training session of the day followed by a physio session. I have some lunch and then go for a short nap. When I wake up from my nap I study, have a snack then go to my afternoon training session. After training, I come home have dinner, do another bit of studying then go to bed.
You’ve recently joined Setanta College as a student on our Diploma in Personal Training and Strength & Conditioning, what motivated you to start studying S&C and why did you choose Setanta?
I was quite interested in further studying in the sports science industry. I feel like this will benefit me in my own athletics career. In the past few months, I have researched several different colleges all over the world, and after some consideration, I’m sure Setanta College was my best option.
I think this course will help me a lot as an athlete for myself but will also prepare me for a potential coaching career that I may go into in the future.
What has been the most beneficial aspect of the programme for you?
I believe that the most beneficial aspect of the programme is that it is predominantly online. This allows me to study in my own space and in my own time especially since I have a busy athletics career. Another benefit is that the students, including myself, get all the support we need from our lecturers, and all the college staff.
How have you found the balance of studying and training?
Personally, I have studied and practiced athletics my entire life without slacking in either. I have learned how to organize and manage my time all the way back as far as school up to my two undergraduate degrees. Luckily, I enjoy studying so I have found the balance already.
What advice would you give to younger athletes?
Never give up because, sooner or later, hard work always pays off! And obviously… don’t forget to have fun along the way!
Diploma in Personal Training and Strength & Conditioning
Ottavia is a student on the Setanta College Diploma in Personal Training and Strength & Conditioning. You can find out more about the course here or by downloading the brochure below.