January 9, 2012

Aim 2012 – From Apotex to London

Thanks to the support of sponsors such as Apotex Inc., disabled athletes from the IKS "Smok" Lotos Apotex Orneta Club were able to take part in nearly 30 sports competitions in 2011, including the Polish National Championships, the World Championships and the World Cup... finally gaining a place at this year's London 2012 Paralympic Games!

Photo: Gazeta Krakowska, 16-17.04.2011

Photo: Gazeta Krakowska, 16-17.04.2011

"It was one of the best seasons in our history," says Bogdan Król, a coach and athlete of the Smok Lotos Apotex Orneta, a club for disabled wheelchair racers. [28.12.2011 Dziennik Elbląski]

In 2011 athletes from the IKS "Smok" Apotex Club took part in 27 domestic and international competitions. The most successful competitor was Monika Pudlis, who won the World Cup in Canada twice, was third at the World Cup in Spain twice, and fourth at the World Championships in Canada – also twice. Rating points gained during the World Cup and the European Cup earned Monika a place at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The athletes from the club also enjoyed great success in domestic competitions, winning many marathons and street races. They won 2 silver medals at the Polish National Athletic Championships in Bydgoszcz, and 11 medals at the Polish National Road Race Championships: 4 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze. The team finished in first place for the third time in a row. Three club members were called up to the Polish National Team.

New competition wear, a twenty thousand zloty wheelchair and accessories for the remaining wheelchairs were purchased in 2011 thanks to Apotex Inc., among others. In mid-2011 the athletes also took part in a club training camp. Thanks to the financial aid, all athletes gained the opportunity to thoroughly prepare themselves for sports competitions. In addition, worn out accessories in the remaining wheelchairs were brought up-to-date and repaired. This ensures a comfortable working environment for the athletes, and strengthens their motivation for further training. With their generous support, Apotex Inc. helps the disabled athletes in the pursuit of their sporting dreams. This is particularly important in view of the upcoming London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Other sponsors also contributed to the club's success this year: PGNiG, Grupa Lotos, PKO BP, Michelin Polska, Fit Line.

Bogdan Król talks about the past season and plans for the next year in the latest interview with Dziennik Elbląski.

Light athletics. Wheelchair racers from Orneta best in the country. Monika in with a chance for an Olympic medal

Jerzy Kuczyński - j.kuczynski@dziennikelblaski.pl

It was one of the best seasons in our history,' says Bogdan Król, a coach and athlete of the Smok Lotos Orneta, a club for disabled wheelchair racers.

Disabled athletes from the Orneta club, who take part in hand-operated wheelchair races, have no equal in Poland. We talk with Bogdan Król, a 56-year-old athlete and coach, about the year 2011 and plans for the future.

Bogdan Król. Photo: Ryszard Biel

Bogdan Król. Photo: Ryszard Biel

Are you happy with your performance in 2011?

It was one of the best seasons in the history of our club. We were head and shoulders above the rest at the Polish National Championships on track and on road. We also had our share of successes abroad. Each of the 22 athletes who represented the club had a hand in the success.

This year you won the Polish Team Champion title for the third time. Is there anyone out there who could put an end to your winning streak?

There are great sports centres in Bielsko-Biała, Szczecin or Katowice, but at this moment we are a cut above the rest.

The leader of the team is Monika Pudlis, but what about Bogdan Król?

Pudlis, a 33-year-old athlete, has been taking part in wheelchair races for six years, and is without a doubt the best wheelchair racer in Poland. She has never lost to a Polish rival. She has taken part in over 140 races, and has always finished on top of the podium. She is a multiple Polish National Champion on all distances. As for me, I have no intention of giving up competing. This year I took part in 25 races, winning 15 of them. I won the Polish National Road Race Champion title in the 10 km time trial, and the 38 km mass start, among others.

Is Pudlis in with a chance of winning a medal at the next year's Paralympic Games in London?

Already this season Monika proved herself to be one of the top wheelchair racers in the world. Let me remind you that she finished fourth at the World Championships in the 18 km time trial and the marathon. There will be eight athletes competing at the Olympic Games. Monika's goal is to win a medal. As she herself put it, she is in with a great chance of achieving the goal.

How do you plan to prepare for the new season?

We will begin preparations already in February. We will do some gym work and indoor training, and if the weather is good, also some outdoor training. The first competitions are scheduled for April. And Monika Pudlis will leave for a three-week training camp in Spain already at the beginning of February. There she will be training under the national team coach Tomasz Bartosik.