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.