I am now a PhD student and this fact makes me proud as I am closer and closer to one of my lifetime goals, which is to accomplish the highest possible level of degree worldwide. I started demonstrating a genuine interest in science and scientific work some years ago during my four-year course for a Bachelor's Degree at the National Sports Academy, 'Vassil Levski' - Sofia.
My first paper, entitled: 'The Importance of Selection in Artistic Gymnastics', enjoyed great success and was judged the best out of all of the submissions of my fellow students. Moreover, lecturers from the Gymnastics Department agreed that, in the following years, my work should be presented to all other first-year students as a brilliant example.
Amongst my favourite subjects at university were: Functional Anatomy, Biochemistry, Biomechanics and the analysis of sports techniques, Sports Medicine, Physiology, Physiotherapy, Psychology Theory and methods of sports training, etc. My growing motivation and interests were stimulated by warm comments and friendly encouragements from teachers and lecturers in different departments at the Sports Academy. Some lecturers highlighted my diligence, which can be witnessed in my wonderful notebooks with colourful diagrams and illustrations. Thus, the nature and style of the teaching material are shown to play a significant role in modern and contemporary methods of studying.
My first significant achievement was related to my coursework at the Gymnastics Department of the NSA. After being supported and guided by my supervisor, Ass. Prof. Ilia Kiuchukov, Ph.D., I presented an excellence defence of my thesis and was handsomely rewarded with the following statement made by Full Prof. Nikola Hadjiev, D.Sc.:
'Dear colleagues, this is a wonderful example of Coursework, very well illustrated, and it has been presented in a magical way. We’ve known the student (Stefan Kolimechkov) for 4 years from our lectures and I suggest that we should award an excellent mark of the highest category. Congratulations! It has been a real pleasure for us.'
... words which I will never forget!
Full Prof. Nikola Hadjiev, Doctor of the Pedagogical Sciences
1976-1992 - member of Executive committee of FIG; and first Vice-President - 1980-1984
1979-1987 - rector of the NSA and a president of Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation 1970-1990.
Director of the Gymnastics Department at NSA 'Vassil Levski' - Sofia.
I successfully defended my Bachelor's thesis, entitled 'Comparative Kinematic Analysis of the Dismounts - Double salto bwd. stretched and Double salto bwd. stretched with 360° turn on Still Rings' in 2011, and thus I was awarded a Diploma, my Bachelor's Degree.
During my time of study at the National Sports Academy, I attended department conferences, scientific workshops and conferences with participation of delegates from around the world, all of which are of great interest to me.
In 2012, I directed my interests towards questions of nutritional diet and physical fitness, which are crucial factors affecting human health. The subjects of my scientific work are children of pre-school and primary school age. The same year, I started doing scientific research, guided by my advisor, Dr. Luybomir Petrov, Ph.D. (Department of Biochemistry and Physiology at the NSA). My submitted Master's thesis, entitled 'Assessment of the Daily Diet of Pre-school and Young school Children who are doing Artistic Gymnastics', enjoyed huge success and was awarded the highest possible mark. After an excellent thesis defence in front of the 'Physical Education' Department at the 'National Sports Academy', scoring a GPA in the entire course of Excellent 5.94, and after collecting 62 credits (1410 hours & thesis defence), at the end of 2012 I officially obtained a Master’s degree in Physical Education from the National Sports Academy, ‘Vassil Levski’, Sofia, Bulgaria (EU). The university has a global reputation for physical education and sports science studies. Training structures and programmes for obtaining a degree in physical education and teacher qualifications are entirely in compliance with the European standards and requirements.
Since 2013 I have been living in London, (UK), working in the Physical Education and sports sector, and additionally, I have published two scientific papers:
▪ Article - 'Sport & Science Magazine'
'Assessment of the Physical Development of Pre-school and Primary school Children practising Artistic Gymnastics', Sport & Science Magazine, Volume 4, Sofia (Bulgaria), 2013
▪ Presentation - VI-th Bulgarian Nutritional Conference
'Assessment of the Nutrition and the Physical Development of Pre-school and Primary school Children practising Artistic Gymnastics', Varna (Bulgaria), 2013
In 2014, I started improving the methodology from my previous studies, as well as built the foundation of my proposal project for a Doctoral Dissertation. The next year I sent my project to the University in Sofia, and in July 2015 I was officially enrolled for a three-year higher education course, leading to a PhD degree. I am now a PhD student at the National Sports Academy, and I am currently conducting my PhD research here in London.
I am a fully qualified artistic gymnastics coach with an extensive academic and coaching background. Moreover, I love teaching motivated children who want to develop their physical state through gymnastic exercises. My young gymnasts have won lots of medals, awards and diplomas in national gymnastics competitions and tournaments in Bulgaria and the United Kingdom. Moreover, my students and I have participated in different shows, fairs, parties, etc., in order to popularise the sport of gymnastics. All of these significant events can be seen on our Gymnastics Coaching Page. As an essential component of my work prior to graduation from a university for higher education in 2011, my diploma paper was evaluated as one of the best papers in the Bulgarian Sports Academy.
I have more than 8 years experience as a gymnastics coach, teaching children from 4 to 15 years of age. I possess a Bachelor's Degree Diploma in coaching artistic gymnastics at all levels and for both genders, and also have a Level 2 coaching qualification from British Gymnastics. I am an official gold member of British Gymnastics and I am currently working in London, UK, as men's & women's gymnastics coach for the 'Elite Gymnastics Academy' CIC.
Physical Education Teaching
During my professional pedagogical practice, which was part of my studies for a Bachelor's degree at University, I was teaching students between 14 and 18 years of age. In a period of one month (25.Apr-20.May 2011) I conducted physical education classes myself at the 91st German Language School, 'Professor Konstantin Galabov', in the city of Sofia.
In the autumn of 2011 I continued my studies to the next level of academic degree, and at the end of 2012 I officially became a Master of Physical Education. In 2014 I obtained a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by the National College for Teaching & Leadership (United Kingdom). I have been a Full Member of the Association for Physical Education (afPE) since 2015 and I have been volunteering as a PE Assistant at St Edmund's Primary School in London sicne January 2015.
Artistic Gymnastics is considered to be one of the most beautiful and, at the same time, most difficult sports. Apparently, that is one of the reasons which makes this sport great.
Diagnosed with Perthes disease at a young age (condition where the top of the thigh bone in the hip joint - the femoral head, softens and breaks down), I had been told not to participate in any physical activities, and was even prevented from participating in physical education classes. It is thought that when there is nothing to lose, you can only win. You are already naked, there is no reason not to follow your heart: from disability at a young age to taking part at the highest level of the professional sport.
Never Give Up!
I started training in Artistic Gymnastics at the end of 2002. Although I was already 15 and some people tried to denigrate my desire to progress, step-by-step, gymnastics became a major part of my life. My first official competition as a gymnast was in 2007, competing for 'Levski Sofia' Gymnastics Club. My best individual result is the 4th place in the Mens Still Rings Final in the Bulgarian Gymnastics Championships 2012, competing for 'A-Gym' G.C. - NSA. I am also the 2015 London Rings Champion. Not everyone can take the gold medal, but everyone can be a winner! Yes You Can!