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Best birthday present? Five medals at the European Championship

3 gold and 2 bronze medals it’s the total medal tally of Maria Bojarska at the junior taekwon-do European Championships in Sarajevo. It was a perfect 17th birthday present for the Dragon Janow club athlete.

– 18 months ago I was selected to represent Poland at the European Championship in Maribor, Slovenia, but a week before, at the training camp I have sprained my ankle quite badly so ended up not travelling to the Balkans. This year at World Championships at Inzell in Germany I was also missing out as I was in the hospital. So this was my first chance to take part in such prestigious event – says Maria Bojarska.

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The Dragon Janow fighter did very well winning three gold medals along with her colleagues in the team events. – All the categories and different competitions are equal to me and I was treating them all the same at Sarajevo. For sure some of them required more time and some less but this is the specification of taekwon-do. In the strength test and the special technique, I had to do routines I felt comfortable and confident with. Later in sparrings and techniques in extra times – if there was to be any – I would rather support the team than be taking part. In the strength test I did not have that assurance – says the 17-year-old.

The gold team consisted of Maria’s and her club mates, Julia Bulska, Karolina Dziura, Laura Srodowska, Alicja Slian and Paulina Wegrzyn. – as the Dragon club, we are one big family even though sometimes we do not train together and we are spread out across different locations. Some are based at Bielsko-Biala, Janow or Krakow. I think that we are very supportive of each other and we are celebrating our achievements together – she explains.

Individually, Maria Bojarska won bronze medals in sparring category of +65 kg and special techniques. In the first category, gold went to the Russian Anna Rafalskaya and silver went to Amelia Malyska (Lewart AGS Lubartow). In techniques it was the Romanian Thea Chisalita who won, second place went to the Hungarian Nikolett Mezei.

The national team is coached by Jaroslaw Suska and Jacek Luniewski, but every day she works with her club coaches Jacek Wachała and Marcin Szecowka. – I am very happy to have won five medals at Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital. My biggest domestic achievements would be all of the events I have managed to be on the rostrum – admits Maria Bojarska, who does taekwon-do for over 11 years now.

The Polish international is in the second year of her college at the II Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace in Krakow. – It’s tough, I have a lot of school work additionally I am preparing for a science competition. Despite it all I am trying hard to find the time to practice taekwon-do – add the triple European team champion.