It was in February, and it was cool ... The next cup was decided to be held on March 10, 2001.
Then Igor Mazurenko and his small team did a great job, but first ... they came up with a brilliant idea of "coming out to the fans" and holding competitions in a crowded place.
I'll tell you how it was backstage :-)
Today, when every detail of the organization is painted as a score of a symphony orchestra, it may seem strange that ... then we could not find a knife to cut off the latches with which we hung the banner of the sponsor. I followed this knife to the nearest kebab kiosk. A powerful Turk, without question, lent me it. I cut off the latches and came back to give the instrument. But the Turk was not at the stand, but instead there was a young girl. When I approached her with a knife in hands... she screamed!
So many years have passed, so I can tell you the details. The whole "prize fund" lay in one lady’s bag, divided into envelopes. Everyone was so busy preparing that this bag with a lot of dollars... peacefully lay on the floor, and no one cares about it! I (I do not brag), found this bag and as a professional "bodyguard", sat down next to it. Soon, fortunately, the owner appeared. But the nerves were at their limit.
There were a few more such situations, but the competitions were calm.
From the point of view of the person who works on the tornadoes, I would like to emphasize that the second round was created by the athletes themselves - with their fantastic attitude and enthusiasm! Many of them were in Poland for the first time. For many it was the first tournament of this rank. They certainly saw "organizational" mistakes, but no one complained. Everyone knew that they were creating something great and unique.
Here is an article I wrote at that time.
The second year – 2001
Zloty Tur # 2
March 10, 2001
Gdynia, GEMINI Center
We are still "sticking to the Baltic". From the terrace of GEMINI we could see the former place of the fight, the club "Tornado".
The Tur went to Slovakia!
Armwrestling does not have such money as football. Therefore, the choice of venue for an international tournament can determine the number of participants. In this regard, Poland is well located, because it is easy and cheap to get to it from the east and west of Europe. This is the first factor on which a good tournament depends. The second is a prize. In the second international tournament, Zloty Tur, the winners in the open category received a thousand dollars, four hundred for men and two hundred for women. It's less than tennis, but it's not bad either. Other conditions - a good organization and a large number of famous athletes - are also fulfilled.
On March 10, 2001, the biggest armwrestling stars appeared in Gdynia, and the level (both according to the winners and losers) was "comparable to the World Championship".
The choice of venue was very original. Armwresters are usually pull alone or with a small audience on the street. Here we had more than six thousand spectators. How is it possible? The event was held at the GEMINI Center, shopping and entertainment center it Tricity. The spectators did not come exactly for this tournament, but when they saw one fight, they felt the atmosphere - and stayed. I bet that many of the young guys on the next day tried to repeat such esters.
Igor Mazurenko recalls
>> Debutants from Poland
There were many Polish athletes in the tournament. For almost everyone, this was the first international serious tournament. The biggest surprise for the inexperienced was the speed at the start, which they saw and felt in the fight against foreign rivals.
I knew that there are two parallel tasks: to increase the athletic level of the Tur and at the same time to take care of the training of pullers from Poland.
Will this work? - I thought. Must work!
There was only one category for women, and it was without emotion. Veronica Bonkova ruthlessly crushed all her rivals. Then there was a category where Grigory Bondaruk from Ukraine, the winner of the first Zloty Tur, defended his title. Before meeting with each other, Bondaruk and Gashevsky had several light victories. At first, Grigory tried to fight on the toproll, but they went to straps. The referee strapped the athletes and Gashevsky won lightningly. Answering a question about the causes of this defeat, Bondaruk said: "I did not even notice when he started". As if that was not enough, Bondaruk lost to younger and lighter compatriot Babayev. In the final battle between Babaev and Gashevsky the advantage moved from one side of the table to another. Rustam could not withstand such an attack, fiercely fought for 23 seconds. His resistance and Tsvetan's attack had several stages, at times it seemed that Rustam would pull out, but no. Tsvetan won.
Superb fights were also in weight up to 90 kg. Bill Frank and Igor Kuznetsov were in the first round. The German began so dynamically that he almost tore off the enemy from the floor. After the Ukrainian foes, they fought for the second time. Kuznetsov literally rushed to the table, he tried to hold his right thigh behind the edge of the table as strong as possible. Nothing helped ... losing.
In the fight for the first place with Jan Germanus, Bill had a small advantage at first, but it was just an illusion or a technical skill of Hermannus. In 15 seconds, Jan Germanus won 90 kg in weight.
The strongest emotions were presented in the most difficult category. Alexei Voevoda and Frantisek Zivnyy fought.
To the absolute category all were very tired.
Igor Mazurenko recalls:
In my opinion, it was a breakthrough, a huge breakthrough and excellent marketing. Much more athletes. Teams from nine countries, finally, Russian pullers!
The place you could dream about - the freshly opened GEMINI. The head of the center wanted to advertise, and they liked our offer. City authorities have also joined. Sam Jerzy Zajonc, president of the city of Gdynia, presented prizes to the winners.
The birth of a star
Jan Germanus, of course, was the number one. But then the first, but not the last time dark horse appeared - Alexey Voevoda. Interestingly, he found information about the competition and contacted me. Then Zloty Tur began to prepare "battle scenarios", which later accompanied the professional struggle each year. There was also a prominent Victoria Ilyushina, who gave emotions to the rivalry of women.
The recording is measured by a spinning wheel
>> When planning the competitions at the GEMINI Center, I remembered: "To get the masses, you need to be among the masses!" On Saturday afternoon 4,500 people watched the show!
Breakthrough? I was optimistic ...
When we did the first Zloty Tur, my dreams literally "flew in the sky", I had a head in the clouds, I planned, but dreamed. I did not know where we would go. I felt with my skin that a breakthrough had come. Or maybe I just wanted to feel? It was obvious to me that after such "successes" the sponsors would fill us with money, that I will not know how to spend it...
In the meantime, in 2001 I managed to collect ten thousand zlotys from AMERICAN BULL, and for the rest had to work, work and once again work. Sponsors did not stand in line under our windows, they did not wait on the office stairs. Everything must be agreed with them before they make their contributions. And something was missing! There were supposed to be great competitions, but... There was something else ...
This is in the subsequent episodes of the memoirs ...
The text of PeSzy's article on armpower.net is a fragment of Igor Mazurenko's book Armwrestling-My Life edited by PeSzy.