Arm-Sisters: Bogdana and Paulina
Paulina Janoszka and Bogdana Blyzniuk, a double interview after the International Polish Cup 2023 in Rymanów. Let's talk about the mutual relationship between these two athletes, and a bit about life outside sports. I asked both of the ladies 9 questions, separately. Enjoy!
They responded unaware of the other's answers. They will only be able to read it now. Before that, however, please check the results to get an idea about what went on.
First: Rival, friend or bestie?
Paulina: Bogdana is my Arm-Sister. I called her that once and it kind of stayed. Seriously, we like each other a lot and we know we can both lean on each other, in happiness and in sorrow. On the stage, however, we're vicious rivals. I think you can see it in our duels.
Bogdana: We already asked each other that question before. Paulinka is my "Armwrestling Sister". We met through armwrestling and now it's a passion we have in common. Privately, we talk a lot about serious things and support each other in our daily struggles. Of course, by the table she's a rival! I do my best to win, I always give it my 100%. At the same time, I'm happy when Paulina wins and it makes me very proud. It's a little weird but I think some of you will understand what I mean.
Second: Why do you talk in English?
Paulina: It's just much more comfortable for us. We both know Polish. I speak it fluently, Bogdana is still learning; on the other hand, she can speak Russian fluently, and it's still new to me. It's much simpler to speak English. We're both very comfortable with it and there's no language barrier between us.
Bogdana: Everyone asked us about it. A year ago I couldn't speak Polish yet, and I met Paulinka almost two years ago. We spoke English when we first met and it stayed this way. It's very comfortable for us.
Question three: Is armwrestling your "whole world"? Or is there something else as well?
Paulina: Armwrestling is my passion but there are a few other things in life that are equally as important. It's definitely my sports priority, although, as I've mentioned before, I also train in other directions. My work is not related to armwrestling at all but it's comfortable enough for me to be able to give my all to armwrestling. When it comes to education... I have defended my diploma so I can now call myself a proud graduate of the Law and Administration department of Wroclaw University.
Bogdana: Armwrestling is an integral part of my life. Throughout the year, I have participated not only as an athlete but also a Scoring Team member. We travelled a lot, held so many events, I've learnt a lot and I've met amazing people. Sports aside... I love my job. I am a scientist in Surface Nanostructures Group (Polska Akademia Nauk) and a PhD candidate. There's always something interesting happening in the lab. Other than that, I try to spend time with my family, they're really important to me.
Did you armwrestle men? Did you win? What were their reactions?
Paulina: Sometimes it happens. Sometimes I win. Not always, of course, but when it happens, the men are always ready to give me a list of reasons why they failed. I got used to it after years in the sports community.
Bogdana: Yes! I've won and I've lost, many times. Of course, if the guy is not an armwrestler, it's much easier to win. Last year, I visited my friend in Spain. She told everyone I was a champion. I still remember how many people wanted to try fighting with me and how big everyone's eyes got when I won with men. To win with professionals, I just need to come to training an hour late (laughs). I once wanted to start in a male category but the organizer said no.
Do you have a role model in armwrestling?
Paulina: I don't have one person I look up to. I'm very impressed by female armwrestlers who continue to show their hard work and true colours. I always accept advice from those who had showed me they can do "more". As a woman, I often get advice from men, usually beginners. I disregard most of them after a quick analysis.
I plan to grow in armwrestling, as an international athlete, without neglecting my overall fitness. I wouldn't want to be a strong armwrestler who cannot climb the stairs. This is not my idea of the sports person I intend to be.
Bogdana: Swedish girls are really strong. I think their secret is that they train very hard and a lot. Fia Reisek and Elin Janeheim are two athletes I look up to in armwrestling. What's my plan to catch up with them? Train very hard.
Your strong points:
Paulina: I think my hook is strong but I have to work on my pre-duel stance. I've never realised it before but when the strength is similar, the stance can be the turning point.
Bogdana: The top of my right arm has always been my strong suit. I opened my wrist easily. With no training, however, my pronator became weaker. It's not working how I want it to anymore so I have to focus on it. I also should pay attention to my side press.
The person in sports you're the most thankful to?
Paulina: Besides the fact that I'm the most thankful to myself for being resilient and hard-working, I think the answer is easy: Slava Kuksa. He has been my trainer since the very beginning. I really owe a lot to him. He hadn't started much longer before I did but he's very passionate about sports and I know that no exercise and no movement at the gym is accidental. I know and I can see how he analyses other top sports people, listens to them, tests their training routines and adjusts them for me. He watches everything multiple times and corrects my training routines regularly. When I'm on the stage, he's the only voice I hear. I'm really grateful for it. When I place on the podium, it's not my achievement - it's OUR achievement.
Bogdana: Mostly my Mom. Trainings-wise, Darek Groch. It was thanks to him that I got to start in the Cup. There's also one person who supports me in this sport and in private life but I don't want to talk about it much.
What can you say about the past season?
Paulina: I am incredibly proud of myself and what I showcased. I got to debut at the two biggest professional events in the country: the Polish Championships and the Polish Cup. Moreover, I got to become a champion at both of them. Of course, I still feel a little upset about some losses in OPEN. I know, however, that it's only just the beginning and a lot of other armwrestlers have the advantage of experience over me. At the Polish Cup, I got to win at least once with all top competitors so I was very proud of myself, and the losses motivate me to look for and eliminate my weaknesses.
Bogdana: It was a hard but fruitful year, I had many sports adventures. I went to Turkey to the qualification finals of East West and I placed 3rd with my left arm. I also got IFA World Championships gold with both my left and right arm. For the past few months I couldn't train but let's leave it in 2023 and I hope 2024 holds only new challenges for me. The Cup was great. It was well-organized and spectacular. Congrats to Grzegorz for his great work.
Favourite type of music, favourite movie, animal?
Paulina: It's hard to describe my music taste even after receiving this year's Spotify Wrapped. To sum it up: on a daily basis I like mellow music from artists like Sufjan Stevens, Joji, Lana Del Rey, Frank Sinatra, I also love Polish artists including Dawid Podsiadło and Pro8l3m, and I also love jazz. When I train, I listen to phonk that makes my ears hurt. For movies, I love crime-related ones and thrillers but I hate horror movies. Romcoms are only allowed around Christmas, too. I've been a big Marvel fan for the past two years, even though I used to think movies like this were boring! For books, I read e-books about psychology on my iPad. I'm vegetarian so I love and respect all animals equally. On a daily basis, however, I get to meet and pet much more puppies and kitties than other species. Thank you for the interview, all the best for PeSzy and the readers!
Bogdana: For me, music depends on my mood. Recently I like to listen to AnnenMayKantereit. I love historical movies, thrillers or movies with British actors. As for the animal... Pandas! They're just like me: they eat a lot, they look like me and have big, dark eyebags. I love all animals, though. They're often much wiser than humans. Cheers!