Dressage Dreams and a Goalkeeper’s Regime - Part 7

World Cup fever has consumed the Begovic household this week as we eagerly count the minutes and seconds until the World Cup draw. Friday at 4pm GMT, the Worlds eyes will excitedly look upon the up market coastal resort town of Costa do Sauipe in the province of Bahia, approximately 56 miles from the host city of Salvador. It may as well be a little extra Christmas for Asmir and our family as the World Cup will be one of the most anticipated dates ever to have been entered into any of our diaries. By the time you are reading this, it will have already been decided just 24 hours earlier. I am watching Pot 4 closely as this has been a contentious issue this week. With one team, which could include Bosnia or England, being relocated to another Pot facing them with the challenge of potentially being drawn into the ‘group of death’. Knowing how much emotional and physical investment Asmir has made over his career so far for this opportunity, I will be donning the tin hat and hiding behind the sofa with fingers firmly crossed until the draw is complete! 

Asmir Begovic Foundation Launch

The launch of the Asmir Begovic foundation last week was a great success. We were very fortunate to have the generous support from many influential people in the sports world, especially football, but also family and friends. It was great to see Edin Dzeko and Ryan Shawcross there on the evening to be able to personally present their signed shirts to the lucky bidder in the silent auction. I can confirm that Mrs. Shawcross and I did our best to convince Edin to join Ryan and Asmir in a Stoke City shirt this January, but we were unsuccessful in our mission! It was lovely to finally meet the ‘boss’ Mark Hughes and to hear that he is a fan and regular reader of my column. 

One of Asmir’s other dreams and ambitions in life away from his beloved football pitch, is to be able to give back to those around him. From the earliest days I can remember getting to know Asmir, he spoke of how he hoped his career would develop into a successful one, not exclusively for personal gain, but for the possibility to be able to give back to those around him. He has always been passionate about investing into the future of children, by allowing them every opportunity for success in their chosen pursuits in life. We often chat between ourselves how we feel our daughter will grow up in a different world to what we did, and the same has been said about Asmir and I from our parents. That is why Asmir feels that even if he can make the smallest difference, it is worth it. 

One hundred and eightyyyyyyyyyy!

It was my second time joining Asmir at Darts Night at the Britannia Stadium last week. It was so much fun back in April this year, that I was sure to be in attendance this time cheering Asmir on, with newbie’s to the event, Kath and Ryan Shawcross joining Asmir in steeping up to the oche. The spotlight was unexpectedly turned on Kath and I that evening to join our husbands on stage to partake in a round of couple’s vs. couple’s. Kath was most impressive on her team nailing some great throws and even a bull’s-eye, but Adrian Lewis, Asmir and I were victorious in our round. I can’t take much credit to that success as I was not a natural darts player nor did I benefit from any beginner’s luck that night! I think I had better stick to the dancing horses.

It was a week of first’s last week after my Dart’s debut, when I also was invited into BBC Radio Stoke to join Perry Spiller on his morning show to chat about Dressage. I had a great time getting to do two of my favorite things- talking and talking about Dressage! The timing was great, as I had only just returned from the annual British Dressage Convention newly inspired by a weekend hosted by Dressage Dutch World champion Adelinde Cornelissen. She focused heavily on the rider’s metal and physical fitness, which Asmir can relate to. After some great insights into the science behind the sport and great tips and techniques for fitness, I have been inspired. Asmir now laughs at the sight of me watching television in the evening, endeavoring to strengthen my core, whilst trying to balance on a Swiss ball in very awkward and uncomfortable positions. 

Nicolle x