Our national pride, Monika Duma (especially so, considering her surname means “pride” in Polish), the boss of the Polish Armwrestling Federation referee panel, is passing the baton over. It’s sad news. The only consolation is that the person taking over her position is fit for the job. But about that – in the next piece. ()
In Polish, European and world armwrestling, some changes have been made. The Chief of the PAF referee panel, Monika Duma, judged her last match at the last Polish Cup. Unfortunately. The reason is simple – an overload of work and home chores. Well… It’s been a few years, Monika has created the “Polish referee standards”, standing out for its diligence and thoroughness. In Poland, she “brought up” and formed a big team, reliable and working at events on both the local and large scale. It’s time to introduce you to a person all of you already know, remember and will miss greatly.
It all happened in the crazy year of 2000. Igor Mazurenko was starting to build armwrestling in Poland. The first club, first athletes and first local competition, then some on a larger scale, and then it progressed farther and farther. Monika Duma was working out at the gym. Igor met Ania, his future wife. Monika and Ania had known each other for years. And just like that, by chance, Igor got Monika to train armwrestling. Monika became the Champion of Poland, she took part in World Championships too.
The next challenge was to come up with the Polish version of rules and the first group of trained referees. The great referee David Shead came to Poland in 2001. He held a very serious and precise training. You could say that it’s where it all started. The first group of Polish referees of this time were, besides Monika, people like Daniel Gajda, Wiktor Szyszkowski, Janusz Piechowski.
Monika says that she learnt a lot from David. It’s not hard to believe – he is still a referee “guru” up to date.
Then it took off… Monika liked judging and building structures in Poland. In 2006, in Japan, she got to the Masters rank.
PeSzy: What made you love being a referee so much?
Monika Duma: I liked it at once. Moreover, I love travelling so more often than not, these exotic trips were a great bonus.
PeSzy: How is today’s armwrestling different from the one from the beginning of the century?
Monika: It’s much more professional in every aspect, the athletes and referees know more and don’t make as many mistakes.