Episode 8: no Copernican revolution in Poland...
The Polish team at the European Championships 2011
"Be careful" prevents Witold Mazun, the coach of the Polish delegation: "Every year, we become better! "In fact, they were only four athletes in the Netherlands, but we were more present in Pollenza at the Youth European Championships: 13 skaters! "They are our future champions," said Aleksandra Goss, Polish representative in the Senior category.The objectives Polish
The objective of the delegation was to return to Poland with a medal. Unfortunately, it has not been reached, but skaters and coaches knew it would be difficult. Paulina Kowaliksigne got the best result of the red and white delegation in the category at the Junior A 10,000 m points / elimination on track. She won a nice 5th place!
The means and the preparation of athletes
In terms of training and preparation, the Polish clubs provide a lot of work with athletes. If there are only a dozen clubs in the country, between eight and ten have shown a remarkable seriousness. They trained the best skaters and hopes of Poland. The Polish federation, which has nearly 600 licensed (all categories), not rolling in money. Interclub Trainings have been considered, but the federation was unable to financially support this idea, the clubs either. However, during the European Championships, the federation covers all costs of skaters, including sets of wheels: it is a matter of principle!
In general, the federation finances the athletes up to 80% during the season, the rest being covered by sponsors, including Rollerblade. To prepare seriously and test their level before the European Championships in Heerde and Zwolle, the Poles took part in the European Cup, at the PIC (Polish Inline Cup marathon) and the main race of the season, the World Inline Cup of Gdansk. They also raced in Germany, Austria, and Hungary.
A sport little known in Poland ... like elsewhere
The roller speed-skating is not considered in its proper level in Poland. The reason is simple, known and common to many other countries: it is not an Olympic sport! Public funds support Olympic sports, not the roller-skating ... That is why our sport is growing so slowly. Even for skaters, it is not easy. Thus, the roller sports federation pushes some of its athletes to practise on ice.
"The level is not extremely high" said the coach of the selection. He knows his topic.. he comes from the ice! ... before adding that "Then, it is easy enough to earn a little money thanks to the sponsors and government. This is in the interest of athletes. It is important to think about them! ".
And What about the World Championships?
For the World Championships, a Polish skater could perhaps moving to Korea. Nothing is less certain. These championships take place at the other end of the world and the ice season starts at the same time. In 2012, we will have more chance to meet the Polish delegation to the "Worlds" in Italy, if all goes well! Witold Mazun and the other skaters will certainly have continued to grow in contact with the peripheral nations, during their season on the ice and through the Polish series of marathons. Their objectives will be re-evaluated ...
Digression: a new formula for the European Championship?
Before leaving, the Polish coach told us of his regret concerning the duration of the European Championships. He said they are too long and expensive. It plays against us: track events and the marathon would be enough. As for categories, they should be limited to juniors and seniors so that the media see it clearer ... It's true for both small and bigger nations. Sending dozens of athletes in competitions can greatly increase the bill!
The roller speed-skating in Poland is not in its infancy, but it can only grow. Therefore wish to Polish athletes every success in the future on wheels ... and on the ice! The purpose, confessed half-words, is to participate in the Olympic adventure. The rings of the Olympic Games are still more dream than wheels of roller-skaters ...
Useful linksText written by Lea regular Petit
Translated by Alexandre Chartier
Photos: Vincent Esnault