Artur Szarycz, trainer and Vice-President of Ziemia Darłowska Cycling Club, recapitulates year 2020 and shares plans for the nearest 12 months.
How would you summarise the past year? What important events happened in Ziemia Darłowska Cycling Club? What are your greatest successes?
Year 2020 was very intense and crazy, although all sports events began with a delay. One championship chased another, and we were unsure if the sports season will pull off at all.
However, it turned out to be very successful. Our cyclists did a tremendous job. We won a bronze medal in world championships, 10 medals in European championships and 34 medals in national championships. In 2020, Polish cyclists were awarded 19 medals in world championships and European championships, 11 of which were won by female cyclists from Darłowo.
Two female cyclists from your team will take part in the Olympic Games, right? Could you say something more about it? Was it difficult to qualify?
Olympic qualifications took two years of tough competition at international events. The cyclists who have qualified to compete in track cycling at the Olympic Games are: Marlena Karwacka in sprint competitions and Daria Pikulik in middle-distance competitions. Marlena and Daria are the backbone of the Polish national team and their participation seems unthreatened. Nikola Sibiak and Wiktoria Pikulik are fighting for their nominations.
Did the pandemic interfere with your plans? Were some events cancelled or postponed?
The pandemic did interfere with our plans in terms of training and participation in certain events, but the cyclists and the coaching staff were determined enough to achieve appropriate physical condition at the right moment. Fortunately, everyone stayed healthy. 95% of cycling competitions in Poland were held. As far as international events are concerned, world junior road and track cycling championships as well as the awaited European senior championships were cancelled. We are sure that if they hadn’t, we would have many more achievements.
What challenges are ahead of you in the upcoming year?
In 2021, the postponed Olympic Games will be held, and they will be the central event of the year. At the same time, we are training junior cyclists and we hope that more talents from our club come up. We believe that the season will run smoothly and that the cyclists, both the more experienced ones and our youngest trainees, will be able to pursue their dreams without any obstruction.
What is it so special about Darłowo and its vicinity that it is such an excellent place to foster the passion for cycling? Why do cyclists love the place so much?
Darłowo and its surroundings are characterised by clean air, beautiful seaside views and climate. And the routes, both the flatter and the hilly ones, which are more challenging. There are more and more bicycle paths and people willing to use them. Every year it shows that the number of bicycle enthusiasts is growing. The residents of Darłowo and tourists have fallen in love with bicycles and cycling and, what is definitely worth noting, drivers respect cyclists and pay great attention to them. Darłowo is currently associated with the sea, beautiful beaches and… two wheels!