From May 25 to June 1 in Sofia (Bulgaria) the XXI European Championships in para-armwrestling was held!
About thirty countries have sent their representatives to compete among athletes with disabilities. In fact, these were the sportsmen with unlimited abilities! How else you call athletes in wheelchairs, with injuries of the musculoskeletal system, with hearing or visual impairments? They are heroes! Russia is huge and immense and its team is also big. After breaking up into groups, we set out on our way to Bulgaria, where its capital, Sofia, waited for us. Sofia met us with warmth, ripe cherries and human kind attitude to the disabled athletes. At the airport, we were provided with a shuttle with a lift for wheelchair athletes. But this transfer was not provided to all groups - some had to go by bus, not equipped with electric lift. Nevertheless, such changes and attention to wheelchaired people are still pleasant. Having reached the “Moscow” hotel, where our team was checked in, we felt some inconveniences. Let's face it - the rooms were uncomfortable for wheelchair athletes! But the staff of this hotel tried to help everyone. Administrators gave us a few keys from different rooms, and we were able to pick up a bigger and more comfortable room - this understanding and attention to athletes is worth a lot. I want to note another important change in our sport, which every year moves forward with a progress. I can compare, my participation in arm-wrestling began in 2008, when we competed unclassified, that is, all together: someone sitting, someone on wheelchair, someone standing.
But now we have a classification, which makes us infinitely happy. But there is no limit to perfection, and we hope to improve the quality of the pre-competition period of registration and fair classification, so that all perform in equal conditions.
One of the drawbacks was that there was a lack of an elementary sanitary room for wheelchair users in the classification hall. We hope that in the future all organizers of competitions of such a level will take into account this necessary requirement. The matches were, as always, exciting, for this is what armwrestling is! High-speed, power, sitting and standing - all fought from the heart. As always, Russia took several cups and a lot of medals of different dignity.
But how would we also like to stand on the podium, like all other athletes, and not at random - someone below, someone on the side. We need a podium adapted for disabled people. One podium - for all athletes with disabilities! And it does not matter whether an athlete is sitting in a wheelchair or standing on one leg, whether he is blind or deaf, in any case, he must stand like a champion!
It would also be desirable to note, of course, the lack of discipline and chaos in the process of awarding the second day of competitions among the disabled. The team of Georgia, in almost all categories, sent for awarding athletes other then real champions and prize-winners who did not even tested for doping. According to the Anti-Doping Code, this is a gross violation, which is up to nullifying the results, deprivation of the medal and disqualification of the athlete and heavy fines. Being late for an airplane is not an excuse, there is a planned day of competitions and according to the rules, an athlete must be at the competitions. The day following the end of the competition is for the departure of teams.
With sadness, as always, athletes said goodbye to each other after the end of the tournament. And there is an occasion for a new meeting - the World Championship, which will be held in Turkey. Wait for us this autumn - Russia is going after the victory and is expecting a fair refereeing!