|RAEVA Iliana Bulgaria
|Last update: 05/09/2011|
|Date of birth:||15/03/1963||Age:||51|
|Place of birth:||SOFIA||
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|Iliana Raeva was the first gymnast of the glorious Bulgarian generation who dominated the world stage in the 80's. She was the one who led to the gym a group of 6-8 years old girl friends, who were neighbours in the "Gerena" district in Sofia (some of them even lived under one and the same roof in a block of flats). Later on, all these girls became world celebrities; Anelia Ralenkova, Lilly and Kamelia Ignatovi, Teresa Karnich, Galina Rangelova, Maria Kuzmanova, etc.
Iliana was the recognized leader, both in their street games and in the team, who started learning gymnastics ABC under the clever and experienced eyes of the coach Zlatka Bontcheva in "Levski-Spartak " club, Sofia. At 15 Iliana went on to train under Neshka Robeva who had joined the club shortly before. Iliana's first "great day" was in London, at the World Championships 1979, when the audience helped her to share the gold for the clubs routine together with the AA champion Irina Deriuguina (USSR) and Daniella Boshanska (CZE), by compelling the jury to reconsider Iliana's note, with an insistant and noisy reaction. One year later, in Amsterdam '80 Raeva swept the gold in the all around, rope, hoop and clubs and became not only the Queen of the European Championships, but "Miss Championships" as well.
Iliana was one of the most feminine gymnasts this sport has ever had. She knew how to make a contact with the audience, how to flirt with style, how to steal people's hearts and she genuinely enjoyed this. She was always different - once classically inclined, once dramatic, once full of joy performing folklore to music. The rivalry between her, Lilly Ignatova and Anelia Ralenkova was constant, and tough, but also very creative. The good thing is that even after their retirement, they remained good friends, as they were as child Iliana is married to Bulgarian football star Nasko Sirakov. (He was one of the team who provoked real sensation at the 1994 World Cup Football Finals in the USA, finishing 4th). They have two daughters, Slaveya and Violetta, both involved in tennis
In 1994 Iliana Raeva opened the FIRST PRIVATE RSG club in Bulgaria called after her name "Iliana". In only two years, it became obvious that she possesses a great talent as coach, and many specialists expect her to become the next big leader of Bulgarian Rhythmic Gymnastics.