The quote “A hero is one who dedicates their life to something bigger than oneself” is definitely something that applies to UAE resident Olga Zolotova, who has scaled some of the highest mountains across the world and dedicated generate donations for charity.
For her next challenge, Zolotova will be attempting to summit the soaring peaks of Mont Blanc and Matterhorn, which stand at heights of 4808m and 4478m, respectively.
The 28-year-old undertakes such gruelling expeditions with her climbing partner Mohamad Khalaf. Together they have dedicated their upcoming mountaineering challenge to UAE labour camps in partnership with Emirates Red Crescent.
“Mohamad and I believe in giving back to society and meantime we really love sport. That is why we always use our sport challenges to raise awareness of social courses. We did a number of charity challenges when we cycled, run or climbed for orphans, cancer patients, and kids of Africa,” Zolotova said.
“If you can do something outstanding that will attract the attention of people then why not to dedicate it to matters that really deserve attention.”
Mountain climbing is more of a mental challenge rather than a physical one for Zolotova, because when faced with the harsh conditions, the mind gives up faster than the body.
The mountaineer does strength training in the gym three times a week, along with cycling once a week. In addition to this, Zolotova goes to Ras Al Khaimah over the weekend to do some mountaineering in the rugged terrain of the Hajar mountains, which she claims is the best way to prepare for these challenges.
“The best way to train is to actually go to the mountains and do some mountaineering. You go to Ras Al Khaimah and put a good 20kg on yourself and hike up the mountain, which is the closest simulation,” said Zolotova.
“However, if for any reason, you can’t go to Ras Al Khaimah then your second option is to go to any tower and walk up 50 floors on the stairs, and if you can’t do that either, then you can use the stair climber machine in your gym.”
Mountain climbing has been a transformative experience for Zolotova, and besides making her more patient and appreciative of her life, the sport has also taught her the importance of having a goal to work towards.
She said: “There is never a beautiful summit that is easy to reach, similarly in everyday life, you need to put some effort to go somewhere higher. The summit of a mountain is the ultimate goal, which every climber is aiming for regardless of what happens to them on the way.
“Even if there is any setback, they find a way around it to reach their goal and this is a philosophy that one needs to apply in their life as well. Because, if you don’t have a goal in your life, you just drift aimlessly.”
“Mohamad and I are just normal UAE residents, we have our regular office jobs and we are not looking for any profits or benefits from our charity campaigns. We do it because we love it, and we believe it is the right thing to do. The two of us cannot help many people but with support of other people we can do something much bigger.”
If you wish to take part in Olga Zolotova and Mohamad Khalaf’s charity campaign to support UAE labourers, you can do so by visiting Times Square Centre and submitting your donations. They are collecting essential hygiene items like soaps, shampoos, shower gels, tooth brushes, etc. which will be distributing to the labour camps later on.
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