Bulgaria’s Golden Girls Visiting Chelopech Mine’s Golden Boys

In the early winter morning of Jan.12, the girls of the rhythmic gymnastics team Simona Dyankova (capt.), Elena Binneva, Stephanie Kiryakova, Madlen Radukanova and Laura Traats, and the individual gymnasts Neviana Vladinova, Katrin Tasseva and Boryana Kaleyn, together with their coach Silvia Stoyneva, visited the Chelopech underground mine operated by Dundee Precious Metals, having been invited by Mr. Iliya Garkov, General Manager for Bulgaria.

Dundee Precious Metals is one of the major sponsors of the Bulgarian Rhytmic Gymnastics Federation. The company provided valuable support for the organisation of the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship in Sofia, and continues its assistance for the implementation of World Cup events in Bulgaria. Thanks to Dundee, Bulgaria has been hosting these events for 8 years now. The Dundee Baby Cup, which is an event for kid gymnasts under 9 years of age, is also held thanks to the support of the company.

Dundee Precious Metals is one of the major sponsors of the Bulgarian Rhytmic Gymnastics Federation.


The day started with a bus ride to the mine. On their arrival there, the girls got a very warm welcome from the hosts. The site safety and security practices made a great impression on everybody.  The gymnasts from the national team had to get their visitor passes for the site and then the whole mandatory safety gear, without which you wouldn’t be allowed to go underground; they received safety induction and only then they could proceed to the underground mine.

The walk in the mine drives was a first-hand experience of the hard mining work for the girls.  Then they shared what a training day in the sports hall was like. The athletes gave a signed ball as a present to their hosts and in return received custom-made souvenirs: small golden mining hard hats mounted on pieces of rock with a Dundee sign on.

The girls could see a piece of ore with a visible gold streak in it and then visited the Process Plant, where the ore was actually processed.

Everybody at Chelopech that morning including Mr. Garkov and the miners on the morning shift was very kind to the girls and answered whatever questions they had. At the end, there was a brief lunch for everyone and the visit ended with the promise to be the first of many more to come.


“It is always a pleasure for us to receive visitors, and it is a great pleasure to welcome our Golden Girls, our rhythmic gymnastics world champions, at Chelopech. Bulgaria’s golden girls and Chelopech Mine’s golden boys share a lot in common – we dub them “golden” because they put their hearts and souls, their energy and emotion, into their work. That is the reason why our girls are world champions and we are leaders in the industry,” said Iliya Garkov during the visit.


This was altogether a very different day for the team, which brought new impressions and new contacts into their daily training routine.