My life in shooting began in 1987 when I was 11. I was born in the town of Almaty which back then was the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It was common for the school kids to do different after-school activities such as dancing, singing, sports, arts, and even astronomy. And it was free for everyone (along with education and health). One day a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go and try out the shooting. I agreed because I was already considered to be too old for gymnastics or ice skating. But actually, I thought it was the same as archery because in Russian archery translates to “shooting with the bow”. I didn’t even suspect that such sport existed at all. So, she took me into the underground, cellar-like range and I was very surprised to see the real pistol. But I also dreamed of becoming a detective and thought that all detectives must be able to shoot therefore this sport seemed very handy. But the biggest dream was to travel all over the world and sport provided this great opportunity. With time my dream to become a detective dissolved but my love for this sport remained and I dedicated my life to it…
In 1991 USSR collapsed and Kazakhstan became a sovereign country. In 1993 I became a member of the National Shooting team. In Kazakhstan, Russia and many other countries, the sport was (and still is) the profession, and being an athlete was my job for which I received salary and all social benefits. And I did not forget to study. After grade 8 in 1991 I went to the Industrial college and after graduating with Honours started Kazakh State University of Foreign Languages in 1994. 1994 was a remarkable year for me as I went to my very first international competitions. Actually 3 of them, one by one. They were World Cups in Cuba, the USA, China. Later that year Kazakhstan team took part in its very first Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan. There, our women's pistol team won the bronze medal, which to me is the most memorable as it was the very first international competition medal. In 1996 Kazakhstan team took part in its very first Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA. At that Games, our shooting team won 2 silver and 1 bronze medal, so when came back we had a journalist coming to interview each member of the shooting team. It was a period in my life when I did not perform to the expected level. So, when he approached me one of his questions was: “Well, Dina, when shall we see the results from YOU”? And I answered: “The results will come, I work hard towards achieving them and everyone helps me on my way”. So, I had this absolute faith in what I was doing and patience and knowledge that I just need the time to grow as a strong athlete. And in 1998 I became a champion of the Asian Games and in 2000 became a finalist of the Sydney Olympic Games.
In 2001 I finally married my coach Anatoly Babushkin, we moved to Russia and changed citizenship. I became a member of the Russian National team and he became a coach of the Russian National Rapid Fire pistol team. Later that year our daughter was born. I resumed training when she was 6 months old. As a member of the Russian team, I got an opportunity to train along with some legends of our sport in both rifle and pistol, to learn a lot from them, to work with other coaches, and to see from inside how the professional team works. Unfortunately, I failed to get selected for the 2004 Athens Olympic games but those few years with the Russian shooting team gave me a great deal of experience and training.
In 2003 Anatoly got an offer to work in Australia as a National pistol coach and we moved to Melbourne. Although in Australia sport is not a profession I kept training full time as I still had this dream of winning the Olympic medal. I tried my best and, on the way, won several Commonwealth Games medals in 2006 and 2010, team World Championships medals, World Cup and Oceania medals, and many local ones.
In 2013 we moved to Singapore where we both got coaching jobs. A new, absolutely different chapter of my life has begun. Since then I could call my husband a colleague. Some achievements of my shooters were: 1st place at 2014 Commonwealth Games; Gold and Silver individual medals, and 2 Silver team medals at 2015 South-East Asian Games; 2 of my girls were finalists of Asian Championship, one girl won a 2016 Rio Olympic quota place in Sport Pistol; the same girl also won a Bronze medal at 2016 Rio de Janeiro ISSF World Cup, and 2017 Delhi World Cup. In Singapore I discovered another passion - drawing. I started to draw on our pistol targets and hope to start the T-shirt printing business using my target-art one day.
In 2016 we came back to Australia and moved to Gold Coast. I continued to coach others but had to use Skype. So, in order to be able to explain to a person on another side of the world what they need to do and how they need to feel I decided that I need to keep my shooting feelings "fresh" and resumed training. And once you feel that it works for you, you want to get better and better, and inspiration grows. It has never been my goal to get selected for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games but I just wanted to see how far I could go and enjoyed the journey.
I participate in AOC's program "Olympics Unleashed" where I travel around Queensland, visit primary schools, share my story and try to inspire kids to "unleash" their talents. I really hope that I manage to ignite some passion in them and desire to develop their talents further. But what is remarkable for me is that I also get inspiration from them, from their genuinely interested eyes and curious questions.