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Gdynia invites! # Armwrestling #

A subsequent meeting with the city’s authorities took place today. Gdynia is waiting for armwrestlers from around the world! ()


Igor, the World Championships will take place in eight months. How do you feel, as an organizer?

Igor Mazurenko: First, I need to say that the very word “organizer” does not fully reflect our role. When I, along with my team, organize a national competition, every time I feel like a host who invites guests to his own house. Guests, that is friends. This is unique to our sport. In the case of other, more popular sports the situation looks different. Competitors arrive, get off the bus, wave at their fans and immediately after that disappear into a hotel. In armwrestling, we’re all together, almost everyone in the team is, was, or will be a competitor. We organize such a competition by ourselves, although now numerous subcontractors are engaged in preparation.

Was it also like that during the top Polish competitions, namely the European Championships in 2000 and the World Championships in 2001?

Igor Mazurenko: Back then in Gdynia in 2000, the number of participants in the European Championships amounted to 160 people from 12 countries. And it’s hard to believe that there were only 9 armwrestlers in our team. It’s clearly visible that we’ve made enormous progress, isn’t it? The 22nd World Championships which we organized in Gdynia in 2001, attracted 560 competitors from 29 countries, including 30 athletes from Poland.

Those events were recognized by the journalists and the local authorities as the Best Sporting Event in Tri-City in 2001.

Igor Mazurenko: At that time armwrestling events already started to gather momentum. It should also be emphasized that the whole enterprise was successful thanks to the local authorities’ support. Competitions of this rank should have a solid foundation and adequate support of the authorities.

I have heard that you expect about a thousand athletes to take part in the World Championships. Is it true? It’s amazing.

Igor Mazurenko: Such a scenario is quite probable. A thousand people from about 50 countries, that’s exactly the number I expect. First of all, we have to bear in mind that armwrestling is still developing. While 560 athletes competed in Gdynia in 2001, EuroArm 2012 attracted 670 competitors from 29 countries. Secondly, our host city - Gdynia is thought of as a place where athletes feel like real starts. They are truly appreciated and admired, fight in good conditions, not in tents pitched in a desert.
There are many other reasons that make us consider the number of a thousand real. In many countries armwrestling has become a sport strongly supported by the authorities, thus in some teams there are a hundred or more competitors. And this tendency can be observed in more and more countries. Another factor affecting the number of participants is that more and more women are practicing armwrestling nowadays. From this year onwards juniors will be divided into two age groups: under the age of eighteen and under the age of twenty-one. As a result, the number of young competitors may double. Now, those who are not yet eighteen years old will gain higher chances to fight for medals.

Igor, you have had a chance to watch many World Championships. You draw conclusions from each event.

Can you share them with us?

Igor Mazurenko: At the beginning of the conversation, I said that I felt like a host inviting friends to his city, to his home. In our sport we are amateurs, in the nineteenth-century sense of the word. Our mutual aim is to give ourselves an opportunity to compete, to meet, to get to know each other and make friends. However, until last year’s election, the authorities of WAF ... acted also like amateurs, but in a negative sense of the word. For them, “amateur” meant anyhow. For example in Italy (2009), the local organizers spent a considerable amount of money and did what was in their power to . However, thoughtless behaviour on the part of theBelgian and Canadian teams resulted in significant delays in the competition, thus the last fights took place late at night! Gentlemen from Belgium and Canada provided computers, which could not be plugged into European sockets! Not to mention the African championships (2004), where the fights took place in some yurt, suitable for completely different purposes. Or, Kazakhstan and the championships in 2011, where the local hosts really did their best, but ... people from WAF would go on tours instead of being available and providing assistance.

In the end, the cup of bitterness overflowed in Brazil?

Igor Mazurenko: Exactly. You cannot ignore the competitors, have them wait long hours before the fight, confuse the protocols and formal matters. Athletes, coaches and referees are ready to do their best, but their willingness has to be accompanied by the appropriate technology and logistics. Only then it is possible to state that the WAF helps organize the competition, and does not take another exotic journey. Fortunately, it was in Brazil when all that changed. The newly elected WAF’s authorities are really creative and knowledgeable about our sport and its organization. Those new people certainly guarantee an adequate level of international competitions. The current President of the WAF - Hadjitodorov Assen, is experienced in organizing amateur and professional competitions. I  have had an opportunity to cooperate with him. What is also worth mentioning is that the entire technical part will be under our Polish supervision. After all, we demonstrated our organizational skills at EuroArm 2012 and numerous Vendettas and tournaments.

We will have many occasions to emphasize that Poland is well located on the world map, that Gdynia is beautiful in September. I’m sure that people who have already been in Gdynia are looking forward to visit us again. We also strongly encourage those who have to qualify for the national team. What else do the competitors need to know today, eight months before the championships?

Igor Mazurenko: Remember about the formal matters. The sooner this is tackled, the better. We, as organizers have excellent relations with Polish institutions around the world, thus we can help you obtain entry visas to Poland. It just takes time. We will inform the national federations about formal matters. All the necessary information will also be published on our website.

Thus, for the first time but not the last one – we are inviting you to our beautiful city by the Polish Baltic Sea!



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