Valentyna Oleksandrivna Semerenko (Ukrainian: Валентина Олександрівна Семеренко), known also as Valya Semerenko (listen (help·info)) and featuring in statistics as Valj Semerenko (born 18 January 1986) is a Ukrainian biathlete. She is Olympic and World champion, multiple World championships medalist and one of the most successful Ukrainian winter athletes.
|Full name||Valentyna Oleksandrivna Semerenko|
|Born||18 January 1986|
Krasnopillia, Sumy Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, now Ukraine
|Height||1.61 m (5 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||54 kg (119 lb)|
|World Cup debut||2016|
|Medals||1 (1 gold)|
|Medals||6 (1 gold)|
|Individual podiums||11 (incl. 3 at World Champ.)|
When she was in the fourth grade of elementary school, she took up cross-country skiing together with her twin sister Vita. But later they decided to switch to biathlon. She began competing internationally year earlier than Vita. In 2004 she took part at Junior World Championships in Maurienne, France. In 2005 she won two medals at Junior World and one at Junior European Championships. On 17 December 2005, she debuted in Biathlon World Cup. She finished her first World Cup sprint competition in Osrblie, Slovakia, ranking 47th. Valja managed to qualify for 2006 Winter Olympics where she took part only in individual race finishing 46th.
For the first time she participated at the World Championships in 2007 in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy. Actually, Valja missed almost the half of the 2006-07 Biathlon World Cup. Next season was more successful. She won the silver medal in 4×6 km relay event at the Biathlon World Championships 2008. First World Cup relay victory came on 7 January 2009, in Oberhof, Germany.
First individual podium Valja celebrated on 4 February 2011, in Presque Isle, United States, in sprint. At the 2013 World Championships Valja won bronze in individual race and silver in relay. On 15 December 2013, Valja won a pursuit race in Annecy, France, which was her first individual World Cup victory.
2014–15 season was the most successful as of January 2018. That season she had 4 individual podiums and finished third in World Cup classification, being the second ever Ukrainian biathlete to finish a season in Top-3 after Olena Zubrilova. After Christmas Valja together with Serhiy Semenov she won World Team Challenge. The most memorable achievement was victory in mass start at 2015 World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland. Next two seasons weren't very successful due to illnesses and weak physical conditions. Valja was forced to miss a lot of races.
She qualified to represent Ukraine at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Her best personal result at the Games was 19th place in mass start. She expected to run in women's relay but she wasn't included in the roster. Later she accused coaches of ignoring her results and including not so successful at the Games Iryna Varvynets and Anastasiya Merkushyna in relay team. Her sister Vita Semerenko later told in an interview that Valja cried four hours after she found out that she wouldn't participate in the relay. At evening before the competition Valja posted on Facebook that "we don't have any team", "our team is just ***" and so on, and that she has something more to unveil about the team. Next day she said that she may finish her sport career immediately after the Games. Nevertheless she competed in World Cup after the Games.
|2018||Pyeongchang, South Korea||25||46||DNS||19|
|2009||Pyeongchang, South Korea||26||15||38||16||DNF||11|
|2013||Nové Město na Moravě, Czech Republic||3||22||43||DNF||2|
|2010–11||Presque Isle, United States||Sprint||3|
|2013–14||Annecy-Le Grand-Bornand, France||Sprint||3|
|Annecy-Le Grand-Bornand, France||Pursuit||1|
|2013–14||Östersund, Sweden||Mixed relay||3|
|Annecy-Le Grand-Bornand, France||Relay||2|
|Nové Město, Czech Republic||Mixed relay||3|
- Position (and scores) are shown in the table.
|2006–07||26 (32)||53 (20)||55 (8)||47 (60)|
|2007–08||37 (14)||28 (83)||28 (58)||30 (35)||28 (190)|
|2008–09||25 (56)||30 (105)||33 (61)||14 (115)||24 (349)|
|2009–10||8 (102)||19 (195)||14 (125)||20 (97)||14 (538)|
|2010–11||2 (159)||14 (240)||12 (161)||14 (127)||11 (678)|
|2011–12||29 (32)||25 (129)||21 (122)||23 (73)||22 (356)|
|2012–13||9 (86)||21 (160)||25 (107)||23 (85)||20 (438)|
|2013–14||8 (59)||10 (186)||6 (233)||13 (75)||8 (553)|
|2014–15||11 (74)||5 (328)||3 (255)||2 (210)||3 (865)|
|2015–16||50 (15)||51 (43)||37 (67)||46 (14)||47 (139)|
|2016–17||74 (11)||73 (13)||79 (24)|
- "Valj Semerenko, Biathlon". Vancouver 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- "Valj Semerenko". SR/Olympic Sports. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- "Ukrainian squad for the 2018 Winter Olympics". Ukrainian Biathlon Federation. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
- "Scandal in Ukrainian women's biathlon team". ZIK. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
- "Valja Semerenko claims to finish her career and she won't refuse her words about national team coaches". UNIAN. Retrieved 23 February 2018.