Interview from 29.10.2019
Mr Jan Bętkowski is the World Champion!
JAN BĘTKOWSKI – RETIRED ARMWRESTLING...
Since the very beginning, since the first armwrestling competition that some older armwrestlers took part in, I have been writing that the “inner strength” of armwrestling is the age diversity of its athletes, and that they represent their club (and later country) together, both the youngest and the oldest. I could go on for hours trying to tell you the importance of sports in the upbringing of the youth but I'm going to cut to the chase. Mr Jan Bętkowski is 75 and has recently started training armwrestling.
It's only natural to have retired by 75 and mr Jan is, indeed, already retired. He has a lot of time on his hands and he spends it very actively. As he says himself, it only gets worse if you stop moving once. Jarek Zwolak has announced that an athlete from UKS 16 Koszalin will participate in this year's World Championships in Rumia. I asked Jarek about it and that's what he told me:
“He's a great role model for my younger armwrestlers, I think. Mr Jan hasn't missed a single training in the last year. He's gotten very strong and feels great, he's started pulling up and some of our young members are struggling to beat him, too.”
So, now we know everything. I wonder how he got into the club. I asked our protagonist about it. It turns out there's a local newspaper in Koszalin called “Głos”. They have written about armwrestling a lot in the context of the UKS 16 club and their success. The club's name suggests it's a youth club. Mr Jan got interested but thought he was too old to join. Then, he decided to check and... he stayed. He stayed so diligently that he hasn't missed a single training in the past year and a half!
He's already competed in the Polish Championships 2018 and has two bronze medals.
Mr Jan, what sports did you train before armwrestling?
Jan Bętkowski: As a kid and a teenager, I armwrestled and was pretty good but it never grew over amateurish playing. I also did boxing, also as an amateur, and lifted weights. And then I got into the club a year and a half ago.
How did they welcome you at the gym?
Jan Bętkowski: The youngsters were very surprised at first. Then they got used to it and now it's pretty normal.
How do you train?
Jan Bętkowski: I'm in the club three times a week and I also do my own training at home. Moreover, I do a lot of social work and have lots of plans...
What plans? Please, do tell!
Jan Bętkowski: Maybe I will write a book...
Jan Bętkowski: History! My first education was technical but then I did my degree in History. Besides sports, I'm very interested in WW2, I read a lot and spend a lot of time in Koszalin's library, I live a calm, retired life.
Mr Jan, I already know that we'll have a lot to talk about when we meet at an event.
Thank you for the interview, and good luck for the World Championships in the senior grand master 90 kg category!
Jan Bętkowski: Greetings and see you in Rumia!