Information from leading Polish clubs about sparrings and hard preparations has been published for two months in the social media. The coaches of the leading teams, just like in football, announced "transfers" and serious reinforcements. In fact, the battle for team classification was very fierce and individual teams were separated by only a few points in general, junior, senior and disabled rivalry.
230 competitors from 30 clubs took part in the Championships. Particularly important is the fact that the numbers of juniors keep growing. There were also some notable returns. Several competitors who had to take a break in their careers now fight for medals again.
In Cieszyn, we eagerly awaited the start of Alex Kurdecha, who recently became famous for winning five to nought in a Vendetta fight during the Supermatch Tournament in Italy. We were curious if Alex would dominate the whole plus 110 kg category. In left arm, Alex was unmatched, and the second competitor in this weight - Marek Majak - was the only one who could actually put up a fight against him. However, the competition in right arm brought about a big surprise. The winner by fouls, after a dramatic fight, was Waldemar Neryng, from the same club - Armfight Piaseczno.
The heroes of this year's Championships were the multi-medalists, competitors who won more than two gold medals. 12 athletes managed this feat. Sonia Turzyniecka (UKS Złoty Orzeł Choszczno), Katarzyna Radzik (Wiking Nisko), Aleksandra Woźniak (Niedźwiedzie Orawy) and Maciej Gralak (UKS Arm Fanatic Grudziądz) took four gold medals from Cieszyn. Three gold medals were won in Cieszyn by one female athlete - Karina Olejniczak (UKS Szesnastka Koszalin) and the following male athletes: Kamil Błaszczak (Niedźwiedzie Orawy), Mariusz Grochowski (MCKS Tytan Jaworzno), Konstanty Królik (Armfight Piaseczno), Artur Krupa (MCKS Tytan Jaworzno), Oleksandr Kulishov (Spartan Warsaw), Wiesław Podgórski (Hands of Stone).
The rivalry in the para-armwrestling and, at the same time, the qualifications for the Polish national team among the disabled were exciting - although it was not always about medals. Here, as in the dawn of the era of Olympics, participation is what counts. For many athletes and competitors who struggle with their fate on a daily basis - para-armwrestling is proof that barriers can be overcome and goals can be achieved. This is the case for athletes who, despite disability, compete equally and often with their peers – juniors and seniors in their weight categories.
Armwrestling, as we had a chance to witness at the competition in Cieszyn, is also a "family" sport. Daughters, mothers, sons and fathers, husbands, wives and brothers often compete in the same competitions.
One of the most well-known armwrestling families - not only in Poland - are Stanisław Gralak and his son Maciej. Maciek's accomplishments are enormous: he won four gold medals, and his dad also added a few of his own to the count. Wiesław Podgórski and his son Mariusz also have similar successes - also Polish representatives and international competition medalists. This time, they also took a solid suitcase of medals from Cieszyn.
The youngest and lightest participant in the Cieszyn Championships was Dominik Zaorski, who starts with his father Damian. For now, only Dominik has been winning medals, and his father tries to follow in his son's footsteps. The oldest participant of the 2018 Polish Championships is Konstanty Królik from Warsaw, whose collection of medals from Polish and international events is impressive and cannot fit into a spacious apartment. In Cieszyn, Mr. Konstanty added three gold discs to his collection (Mr. Konstanty cannot even count his silver and bronze medals).
Another Polish Championship is behind us. We showed armwrestling for the first time to the Cieszyn audience and we will certainly return to this city more than once.