Russia’s best welder is a woman. No, it's not April Fool's Day. Muscovite Diana Bagautdinova was the only female representative at the WorldSkills Welding Competition held in Russia in late August. And she wasn’t just there to make up the numbers, defeating two dozen guys in the final round to win the competition and take the welding world by storm. Why is this 19-year-old student so hooked on welding?
"I'm so incredibly fascinated by the welding process itself," says Diana. "It's such a buzz to look at a burning spark as it binds metal. It's really beautiful."
She fell in love with welding three years ago during practical training at college, where she was studying to be a heating systems engineer. Her supervisor was impressed by Diana's
Diana's mother was shocked to learn that her daughter was going to take part in the event. "My friends were also surprised by my hobby, but everyone supported and motivated me when things went wrong and I wanted to pack it all in," Diana says. To prepare for the contest, she honed her welding skills day and night
Welding is considered physically tough and dangerous, so the profession is dominated by men. At the sight of Diana, her male competitors raised a few eyebrows. But she wasn't fazed in the slightest.
"Mentally I was
Diana has so far mastered several kinds of welding, earning her level five professional status, with six being the highest. She admits that besides herself, she only knows a couple of other women who do welding. But that number is set to rise, because at college Diana now gives welding master classes for high school students: both boys and girls.
She combines teaching with her studies at the Russian University of Transport in
For now, Diana's priorities are work and study. Her only free time is on weekends, which she usually spends reading at home (she likes Harry Potter) or strolling in the park.
She also socializes with friends from college, who include welders and non-welders alike.
She doesn't yet have a boyfriend, but Diana believes that her profession will not interfere with her personal life. "If a person really loves you, they accept everything about you, including your interests," she says.
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