Red: Igor, how would you rate the 2012 season as the President of PAF?
Igor Mazurenko: In terms of sport it was the best year of our team! Special congratulations to all our European and World Championships medallists, to those who took fourth positions, which were also paid with many great fights! Of course at the top of this list reigns supreme Marlena Wawrzyniak! Her last season was full of successes crowned with the victory at the NEMIROFF WORLD CUP 2012 – she was the first Polish woman athlete to achieve it. I know that there has been announced a contest for the best Polish woman and man in Armwrestling. I also know that everyone is voting for Marlena – let me join in.
Red: By the way, everyone loved the introduction of three women categories in World Cup. Igor, isn’t it time to think about adding the open category for women?
Igor Mazurenko: I’m thinking about it, but let’s come back to the assessment of the previous season. Another, this time our collective success in 2012, was European Armwrestling Championships in Gdańsk. We won them not only as the organizers, but also as athletes and as a whole team. Thanks to this we are to fulfill a big commitment in 2013, which is the organization of the World Championships in Gdynia. We are also going to co-organize the European Championships in Lithuania. All these events give a great chance for success to Polish sportsmen, from juniors, through seniors to veterans and the disabled. During these two events we’ll feel like at home. We will be able to put our full team in for these competitions. We’re going to take our chances and support each other. It’s going to be an opportunity which we haven’t had yet. But of course it also means a serious responsibility. We have to be well prepared for these two main international tournaments.
Red: Many competitors have already started preparation for the Polish Championships. They realize that their participation in EuroArm and World Championships is within their reach. So there is going to be a real battle at the Polish Championships. Igor, what do you think about last year’s national competition?
Igor Mazurenko: We’ve already written a lot about it, but it’s worth highlighting that the Championships in Grudziądz established a totally new standard for national competitions. What also should be mentioned is the summer ORAWA CHALLENGE, which was a big tournament with lots of competitors from abroad taking part. Last year most of local competitions reached a significantly higher level in terms of sport and organization. Successful Debuts 2012 are also going to be permanently held in Stare Miasto and there won’t be any need to add that it’s “near Konin”. The last event in the season was the XIII (!) Polish Cup which proved that we’re really well organized as the federation. Even in last-minute situations, facing problems we’re able to provide the competitors with good conditions and great atmosphere! The competition was very successful!
Red: What was 2012 like in professional Armwrestling?
Igor Mazurenko: I’ll mention just a few events. I’ve read many comments saying that “A1” in Moscow was a hit in professional Armwrestling. As I said before the tournament, it’s not difficult to organize a competition once! It’s not a problem to spend a lot of money and learn how to organize an event. The thing is that you have to learn to draw conclusions and introduce necessary changes during following competitions. That was the case in Lviv Cup FITMAX CHALLENGE. Mind you, in our sport the most important value for the competitors is not the money they can win, but the development of their own brand, which is their name. Only this can translate into a successful cooperation with sponsors. This is the source of real incomes. To me, the thirteenth (exactly – thirteenth!) Zloty Tu, that is NEMIROFF WORLD CUP 2012, was the most important because of the use of new equipment to handle the whole enterprise and the scale of the event.
Red: It was a successful event, I confirm. The only thing that crossed our organizational capacity was athletes’ weighing on Friday. It was the only drawback in my opinion. It’s worth adding that John and Todd’s problems with arrival caused a lot of stress.
Igor Mazurenko: I know you waited till late evening, but fortunately they made it. As for the crowd to weigh – it was the first time that so many competitors took part in the World Cup. It really exceeded our expectations! I know that sports level was very high, the results - sometimes as expected, and sometimes surprising. I might have already told you this, but this tournament was really a breakthrough.
Red: Never in the history of our Zloty Tur Cup have the media been that interested in the event …
Igor Mazurenko: Exactly! Often the interest was not connected with sport!
Red: What are our challenges for 2013?
Igor Mazurenko: As the organizers we are already prepared for the competitions in Lithuania and Poland. We’re still working on details. Everything is going according to the plan. The World Championships in Poland are going to be the best and the most spectacular in the history of our sport! In terms of sport I’m planning to help Polish female and male athletes in preparation for the performance in the team. We have to do everything so that the best competitors win the Polish Championship and we will give them the best possible preparation for the competitions in Lithuania and later in Gdynia. We’ve been through a couple of „thirteens” in 2012, so we’ve got nothing to worry about in 2013.
Red: Thank you for the conversation. We’re going to Southern Poland Championships, are you going to join?
Igor Mazurenko: Of course! See you there!