PeSzy: Ania Mazurenko said that some teams and athlets had some adventures in traveling to Senec? Apparently they avoided the borders? Can you tell about it?
Marian Čapla: Situation was not easy. Slovakia was opening slowly to other countries and I did not know to last days who can come and who not. Well, there were some interesting stories. For example Ukrainians were travelling with all supported documents to borders where the were refused to entry Slovakia. I called with the customs and they strictly refused to allow them to come. But later they advised, that Hungarian borders are open and maybe it is the way. So maybe trevelling was a bit longer for Ukrainians, but succesfull at last.
PeSzy: As an experienced athlete - how would you rate the athletes' preparation for this tournament? Everyone had a forced break in training - virus - Did it show at the table?
Marian Čapla: Not at all. Everybody was hungry to compete. If there were some lack in strenght or technique, it was substituted by extreme will and desire to win. I was amazed by level of tournament. No win was easy.
PeSzy: Who should be thanked for their help during the preparation of the Tournament and during the competition itself.
Marian Čapla: I am really happy that city of Senec helped us as always. They gave us grant and provided the hall. I have to thank to our organizing committee (namely Maria Janušicová and Miroslav Koczka) who worked hard to make the event happen. The special thanks is to my friend Marcin Mielniczuk, who did perfect job and although he was not able to be present in Senec this year, he helped us really much. At the place he was substituted by Marius Zbylut and he did perfect job too (and it will be very hard to choose one of them for next year). I don’t want to forgett about our graphic designer. She did and amazing job and it was visible everywhere – ID cards, straps, t-shirts, podium...it was just perfect and her visuals made this event unforgettable. And last but not least twoo brave Polish referees. Girls were unstopable and deserves thanks from all of us.
PeSzy: Which athlet did - in your opinion - perform the best? Who was the surprise or the "black horse" of the Tournament?
Marian Čapla: As I said before, all pullers surprised me with action and energy. But most memorable was small Ukrainian puller Dmytro Bordun. He pulled with such passion and energy, which made whole hall crazy. His final matches were one of the most exciting that evening.
From other categories, I was really amazed by disabled classes. These guys and girls have my respect and they did it really well.
The biggest surprise for me was Jaroslav Boros (SVK) who join us lately and won gold and silver in his class.
PeSzy: Was it the toughest job in your life? As an organizer?
Marian Čapla:Surprisingly no. The preparation was really hard especially due to the COVID19 situation. I had several sleepless nights back in March, when I decided to postpone event to July. And it was good decission. During original dates everything was cancelled in Slovakia. Pity, that few teams who were ready to come in April were not able to come in July due to travel restrictikons – Georgia, Finland (one came only), France (one came only), Russia...
But still, we had almost 70 pullers from 11 nations. Not bad for that moment.
But comparably to 2019, when I had almost 200 pre-registrations and due to WAF obstructions and banning it finished with 44 pullers at the place, this year was an easy walk through the rose garden.
PeSzy: What were the media echoes in Slovakia? Was there written about the tournament?
Marian Čapla:We did not promote Senec Hand in media this year. We didn’t know if the event even happen. Restrictions were changing day by day. So it was just as it was. The promotion went via social networks and internet only.
PeSzy: Were you afraid that everything would be canceled by some politician at the last minute, that the borders would unexpectedly close again?
Marian Čapla: Yes. I was checking the foreign ministry web page several times per day. The situation was not easy, there were rumors that borders will be closed again... but we succeeded. And believe me, I hadn’t such feelings for years. The whole atmosphere was full of friendships and positive energy. We all were there, because we wanted to be there. This is what IFA gave to armwrestling. Believe in future.
PeSzy: Thank you for the conversation. Congratulations on a successful Tournament!
Marian Čapla: Thank you and see you next year!