Out of 215 athletes representing Poland at this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, as many as 61 are soldiers of the Polish army.
Among them is Corporal Ewa Trzebińska, a European epee champion, and silver medalist of the World Championships.
“There are various common factors, for example, physical strength, fitness, determination. I also think that sports and the army go hand in hand, and I am proud that I can represent Poland as a soldier and as an athlete,” Corp. Trzebińska said.
The soldiers received a flag from the Minister of National Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, with the slogan “We Serve Independent Poland”.
Minister Błaszczak thanked soldiers for “competing in these sports”, adding that thanks to this they “make Poland famous on the international arena.”
The chances for medals are quite high — experts say 16 or even 18 medals are within reach of Polish representation.
“I would like Poland to be lucky to finally come out of this enchanted number of 10 medals, which we have been bringing back for the last few Olympics,” said Sebastian Chmara, deputy head of the Polish Athletes Association.
And the soldiers ensure that they will do their best.
“We are motivated to fight for the highest possible price. The medals can be very close. If we give our best when we are going there with such motivation,“ Private Małgorzata Hołub-Kowal said.
The Tokyo Games postponed for one due to the pandemic will begin on July 23 and last until August 8. In line with the restrictions introduced by Japan, the competing athletes cannot be watched by people from the stands.
“It is difficult for me to imagine watching the Olympic Games without the participation of the spectators. In fact, the spectators, the fans create the atmosphere at stadiums and other venues,” said Adam Godlewski, editor-in-chief of the Sportowy24 sports website.
However, Poland’s public broadcaster TVP will take care of the atmosphere in front of the TV sets, as it will broadcast the Tokyo Olympic Games.