News and views from Nathalie Dielen
Former interior designer Nathalie Dielen has swapped homely settings for ranges where targets and arrows perform an impressive ballet. A portrait of a thoroughbred Lausanne archer, smitten with her town and her sport.
To the right, the ancestral calm of Roman ruins, the remains of Lousonna. To the left, the Vidy Bowl and the incessant coming and going of wheels and life. And in the middle, the City of Lausanne archery range, the training ground of Nathalie Dielen, the only Swiss archer to qualify for the Olympic Games in Beijing last year. “It’s a highly coveted ground,” puffs the 42-year-old former interior designer. “I must admit it’s really good here between the ruins and the lake. When I was competing at amateur level, I used to spend whole days here. And there is this gentleman who comes nearly every day to practise his wushu (ed: all the Chinese martial arts) at the side of the range, which is soothing. The only minor irritants to complain about are the sound system for the young riders in the bowl, which is sometimes too loud, and the barbecues. The wind blows smoke from the grills onto the targets. In fact, the targets were grey one day. But other than that, these are the best training conditions in the canton.”
“I could not live outside of a lake and the shores of Lake Geneva in the summer, it is every time a holiday scents.”
Head in the clouds
Professional since 2002, Nathalie Dielen did not start her sporting career with a bow in her hand. But there were already some targets, as she played curling for several years: “We have never had an all-female team, which means I’ve never been able to compete at a top level. I still really like this sport, which requires concentration and anticipation. Curling is similar to chess in the sense that you have to think ahead systematically if you want to win. The moment I’m able to, I’ll play.” A latecomer to archery at the age of thirty, Nathalie Dielen nevertheless admits to sometimes having her head in the clouds in a sport that holds fast to the doctrine of concentration and precision: “I was like that back in school. At the Elysée college there was a park with squirrels. I loved to let my mind wander for a while. I once got into trouble for it during a written science test! (laughter). This is why, when I’m competing, I wait a couple of minutes first before drawing my first arrow.”
Need for the lake
Married to Tom Dielen, secretary general of FITA (International Archery Federation), Nathalie Dielen knows better than anyone the difficulties encountered in the struggle to survive in a sport with such a low media profile in Switzerland: “The Swiss federation receives 15,000 francs a year and that’s all.” But passion wins out over frustration. To go and train in Beijing before the Olympics, for example, Nathalie Dielen paid for the trip out of her own pocket. With no regrets.
Forever a Lausannoise, Nathalie Dielen likes her town. “I couldn’t live anywhere other than by a lake and in summer the shores of Lake Geneva have a holiday vibe. I was taking part in a competition in Brittany and it was there that I realised how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful place. A place I like to go? We often used to go to the Chalet des Bains, but I must admit that I can’t stand being in smoky places.”
Service des sports
Chemin des Grandes-Roches
Case postale 243
1000 Lausanne 18
Phone +41 21 315 14 14
Fax +41 21 315 14 19
Vendredi: fermeture à 16h30