By Caoilte de Barra
The third set of MMA Polska Championships went down on April 9. Athletes from clubs across Poland took part in the competition. The historic event was the first time that cadet categories (12-17) were at the Championships. It wasn’t just athletes from Poland who were entered into these championships.
Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, many have been forced to leave their home country and relocate elsewhere for safety. The humanitarian effort in Poland has seen many cross the border. Young athletes who actively trained in Ukraine are amongst those now living in Poland. With the assistance and support of MMA Polska, the athletes were welcomed to the Championships to compete.
Those who competed have been training at Sparta MMA Warsaw. A club run by Ukrainian native Roman Zinchuk. Roman explained that some athletes came from Ukraine and are currently training at his club in Warsaw.
“During the war, many of my students/athletes went to Ukraine to fight (to protect their country) and many children came from Ukraine to my club to continue to train effectively in martial arts, MMA.”
All the below four entrants were in the cadet divisions and each of them secured a medal. Their success helped Sparta MMA Warszawa top the club rankings at the competition. Their medal tally contributed to four of the six medals won by the club.
Name – Weight – Medal position
Yeva Buzhenko – 62 kg – First place
Rostyslav Ocheretnyy – 57kg – First place
Anastasiia Holovko – 52kg – First place
Nazar Rudolf – 48kg – Second place
Roman gave some background on the athletes and their journey to Poland and detailed the support he provided for them to continue training.
“Yeva and Rostyslav come from my native town and trained there with my friend-coach Vladimir Solyar. He called and asked me to take them in. Of course, I accepted them into my club, gave them every possible support such as the necessary equipment, free training and so on.”
“Anastasiia is from Kyiv. She also trained there with my friend-coach Serhii Hrechka. Nastiia’s mother found our sports club on the Internet, but after the first meeting I found out that we have mutual acquaintances. Just like others, she got free training and necessary equipment.
“Last but not the least, Nazar. His parents also found us online. I immediately welcomed him to the club because I saw the boy’s remarkable abilities, so offered him the chance to participate in the Polish Championship for which we were preparing with my team.”
The Ukrainian MMA Federation also acknowledged the success of the medalists and thanked MMA Polska for facilitating them.
Roman had many of his students competing and the club ended up topping the club rankings for the competition. He gives lots of time to prepare them before a competition.
“I train all my athletes personally. I also do extra training before the competition, where we train as hard as we can to increase our chances of winning the Championship.”
He was grateful the athletes got the opportunity to compete and explained how their participation was facilitated by MMA Polska and Martin Lewandowski.
“I would also like to note that the Polish MMA Federation, represented by its President Martin Lewandowski, has facilitated the participation of the athletes in the tournament.”