Freestyle football queen

PHOTO: Freestyle football queen

What do you do to keep fit?

I go to the gym at least five times a week and I run for an hour at least three or four times a week.

And, of course, I freestyle every day. I usually practise various freestyle moves for about two to three hours each time.

What is your secret to looking so fabulous?

Being happy and bubbly. I think my personality is what makes me attractive.

Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?

Yes, that was when I got injured while playing football and I decided to stop playing at 19.

My fitness conditioning was poor. I could not train much. I had to go for physiotherapy for my knees and was pretty much stuck at home. It was annoying. The physiotherapy lasted about eight to nine months. It was almost a year before I could start moving around normally again.

What is your diet like?

I love to eat fruit, vegetables, fish and chicken. I eat a lot of salads. I try to keep a balanced Mediterranean diet.

It's very simple and healthy.

When I travel, I will try some of the local cuisine, which may be unhealthy.

But I don't eat a lot of red meat. I have trouble digesting it so I usually avoid it.

I also keep my intake of carbohydrates, such as pasta and rice, to just two or three times a week.

What are your indulgences?

Chocolates and sweets. I eat them every week. My favourite is Hershey's chocolates.

I have no problem with not eating red meat or not eating carbohydrates on some days. But it takes effort to keep my hands off chocolates.

I can't say no to chocolates.

To give you an example, I was in Prague earlier this year for a freestyle event and met another freestyler who was also a chocolate lover.

We would buy chocolates every time we stopped by a supermarket and we just kept on eating it.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Strangely, working out is what best relaxes me. It takes away the stress in my life.

I see my work as my life, so as long as I can train and do freestyle football, I am happy.

Of course, once in a while, I like to go catch a movie and I like to draw.

What are the three most important things in your life?

Friends, family and my football, in no particular order.

I consider a lot of my friends my family. I have friends who are like my sisters and the freestyle community I am in is like my family.

Would you go for plastic surgery and why?

Yes, I hate my nose.

Do you think you're sexy?

I think everyone is sexy in his own way, so I guess there is something sexy about me. But I'll let others decide that.

joyceteo@sph.com.sg

BIO BOX

Ms Laura Biondo

AGE: 24

HEIGHT: 1.58m

WEIGHT:54kg

Ms Biondo was 10 when she first kicked a football. She wanted to become one of those rarities - a woman professional football player. At 19, she was playing for a local club in Italy.

Then, an injury changed her life. She sprained her knees and could not move them for several months.

But she wanted to stay in the sport. So, instead of playing competitive football, she switched to freestyle football, a street sport which involves doing stunts with a football. It is much kinder on her knees as there is no need to run and kick the ball hard.

For the last five years, she has practised hours every day and travels almost every month to perform at freestyle events.

Her work has taken her to countries such as France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Egypt and Kuwait.

In fact, she loves freestyle football so much that it is just one or two weeks a year in which she does not train - and that is usually when she is forced to rest to recover from an injury.

As a freestyle footballer, she is hired to do shows and, as an athlete, she gets sponsorships.

It may seem like a big commitment but Ms Biondo, who is single, says freestyle football is "just fun. If I don't do it, I will become stressed. It relaxes me".

Her hard work has paid off: She holds the Guinness world record for four different freestyling football stunts for women.

She was in Singapore last month for the Tiger Street Football 2013 tournament that was held at Marina Bay Sands.

Ms Biondo, who was born in Venezuela and now lives in Italy, is an ambassador for the Freestyle Football Federation. She says she wants to work at opening doors for females in a sport that is dominated by men.

In some places, such as Singapore, it is hard to find girls who actually do it, she said.

Her father is a businessman and her mother is a sports physician. She has a younger brother.


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