Today let's talk about some rules about club names. I warn you, this is going to be a complicated divagation. Polish club names refer to brave, dangerous, mythical names. Many of them come from animals, and here's a fun fact: the names appear to be both singular and plural. The first Polish club was Złoty Tur [Golden Aurochs – t.n.]. Singular – an aurochs. There, again, is Złoty Niedźwiedź [Golden Bear – t.n.] – just one. ()
On the other hand, we have Niedźwiedzie [Bears – t.n.] from Orawa, plural. I wrote about them here.
Wilki Międzychód [Międzychód Wolves, farther referred to as Wolves – t.n.] are also in plural. One could think that the creators of the club, with Waldemar Podolski in the lead, have gone for the “team” nature of these animals, as a symbol of the bond in their own team. Wolves understood as a pack. Wolves working in a group. Therefore, the name itself should tell us something about the club, and of course it does
It's a team!
During this year's 21st Polish Championships in the Gniew Castle (March 2021), the Wolves took the 7th place in the general ranking (out of 23 clubs). This means they're at the top. However, they're at the very top, namely in the 1st place, of the disabled competitors ranking (11 clubs in this one).
We'll learn more from the conversation with Waldemar Podolski, the “boss” of the Wolves. Enjoy!
PeSzy: Let's start with the name. Why “Wolves”?
Waldemar Podolski: Because for these animals what matters is the team, unity, pack. I came up with the name, Wolves, and the other founding members accepted it.
PeSzy: How did your, and then the Wolves' armwrestling story begin?
Waldemar Podolski: First there were starts in the “Złoty Orzeł Choszczno” club under the lead of Artur Głowiński. It was Artur who taught us (and me) the basics. The club was founded on July 22, 2010. Ever since then we have Maciej Budych, Paweł Budych, Łukasz Świątek, my wife Elżbieta and me.
Long long time ago...
At one of the first tournaments
PeSzy: Well, that's many years already. Do you remember your first start?
Waldemar Podolski: Our first start was the 2010 Debuts, Stare Miasto. Three medals: Łukasz Świątek got gold (cat. 78 kg), Łukasz Grudziński – silver (cat. 95 kg) and in open Łukasz Świątek – silver. We went as a team of nine in total.
PeSzy: And your debut?
Waldemar Podolski: I went with Maciej Budych to CHOSZCZNO CLUB C4 in 2004. We lost... that's an understatement! We totally got owned! But we didn't give up and we've been in this sport for 17 years now already.
The club family Marta and Łukasz Świątek
PeSzy: I will ask a cliché question – why?
Waldemar Podolski: There's no other place with such fantastic people! Only in Armwrestling. Why? Here's an anecdote from Mateusz Frąckowiak from the Cup in Jabłonka:
There was a stand and a guy who sold shepherd's axes and souvenirs. There was a sculpture of a senior shepherd with a metal cup. And you know what? The man told us that it was the first event during which nobody stole the cup. That's the way we are! Sportsmen, even though not Olympians, more human than some think. It's not just a sport, it's a lifestyle.
PeSzy: I totally agree. When did you get your first serious competition medals?
Waldemar Podolski: The first medals at the Poland Cup (2011, Tczew) were taken by Łukasz Świątek (78 kg) – silver for the left arm, bronze for the right arm, and Łukasz Rachowka in disabled under 60 kg.
The beginnings were mostly them. They got medals.
2011 was also the 1st Międzychód Championships and 51 athletes in Międzychód. In 2013 the first Wolves advanced to the Polish representation on the 35th World Championships in Gdynia. They were Mateusz Frąckowiak and Łukasz Rachowka. In 2013 Łukasz Świątek participated in Złoty Tur Nemiroff World Cup – he took the 12th place (cat. 86 kg).
Then Dawid Łapa appeared, it's year 2013. At the Debuts and Poland Cup he got four medals and began a very successful journey. Mateusz Frąckowiak has many medals in the juniors category.
Dawid, mentioned before, became the Junior Disabled World Champion in 2014 at World Championships in Puck.
Dawid Łapa - how young he is here!
PeSzy: Your best “era” started in 2019, I think. Is that right?
Waldemar Podolski: That's correct. Year 2019 and the first IFA World Championships in Rumia. Paweł Budych – gold in juniors for the right arm with no loss. Dawid Łapa – further success – junior 65 kg – silver, junior in disabled +55 kg – gold for the left arm, senior in disabled – two silver medals for the right arm. Tomasz Wesołowski on a chair – gold and bronze in below 80 kg.
Our common Christmas Eve
PeSzy: All this time, since the founding of the club, you have been the president and the trainer of it. How do you lead your athletes?
Waldemar Podolski: I use training plans from Igor Mazurenko from the 2015 in Gdynia under the name of “The Armwrestling Academy”. The program is simple but difficult to conduct but it also gives us the results we want. Step by step but always forward, a lot doesn't mean good.
PeSzy: I only came once, in 2020, to the Międzychód Tournament and I saw with my own eyes that you are a pack of Wolves, true to your name – in the best meaning of these words. I figure that besides training you also meet up?
Waldemar Podolski: We do make a good pack. If it wasn't for the pandemic we would be organizing sparings with clubs from Choszczno, Kościan, Świebodzin, Wolsztyn and Frankfurt. Oh, there would be sparks!
PeSzy: Last year for the first time I came to the Międzychód Championships for the first time. It was a very well-organized event with the participation of many teams from abroad, truly a show. Tell us, how did it all start?
Waldemar Podolski: The first Międzychód Championships happened in 2011. Locally at first, and then they grew to an international scale thanks to a friendly club from Frankfurt. Gradually we got to a scale like last year, our event got classified in the URPA Ranking. All this time among the organizers are our athletes: Dawid Szymanowski, Jarek Grocholewski and our top competitor Łukasz Świątek.
The mayor Krzysztof Wolny also helps us a lot, as well as the director of BPiCAK Natalia Czarnecka, thanks to them we can organize the championships in the Community Centre.
PeSzy: I'm already thinking about this year's edition. Of course, if we manage to defeat the pandemic. Thank you for the talk and I wish you all athletic and organizing success, and, just because – that you all stay a “pack” forever, so keep working as a team!
Waldemar Podolski: Thanks! Greetings to all Wolves, our fans and opponents!
Let's see each other at the next competition. More info soon.
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