He hails from Ostrow Wielkopolski. His grandfather lived near the local stadium and it was because of him that Mateusz Ponitka loves speedway today. The basketball star who played for Poland in their recent brilliant campaign at the World Championships in China goes to speedway meetings whenever he can. He supports the riders at the earliest opportunity, like the one at the 2nd Tauron SEC final at Torun where he was invited as a special guest of honour.
Mateusz Ponitka was born and raised at Ostrow Wielkopolski. He went there to primary school and secondary school. He was also training there with the best basketball coaches in the country and learning the tricks of the trade.
– I remember going to speedway since early childhood. My granddad used to take me. We shared our great passion for the sport. I remember most of riders names that rode for Ostrow during all those years – says 26-year-old basketball player who was making a great impression at the World Championships in China.
New Zenit Sankt Petersburg player sees speedway as his distraction from basketball.
– I have no interest in football and like speedway a lot. I have a lot of respect for the boys for all they do on the tracks. You need to have a lot of courage and be tough to be a speedway rider – explains the Polish international.
Ponitka keeps in touch with all the news from the speedway world. He also follows the biggest events in the sport like the SGP and SEC.
– This year I have finished the season earlier than usual so I had a few occasions to see some live speedway. I went to a few of PGE Ekstraliga matches and seen the SEC Tauron final at Torun. We like to travel with my wife to Grudziadz, Torun and also Wroclaw. I like the speedway’s atmosphere. It’s good to spend some free time outdoors – said the 26-year-old
The basketball star does not hide his admiration for the speedway riders.
– You have to be brave to be going into the bend at 120 km/h on a bike with no brakes. I still can’t believe the way they flex on those bikes around the bends and the positions they get themselves into. I also like the overtaking during the races. It all makes speedway such a fascinating sport. Some say it’s a simple sport as they are only going around the circle anti-clockwise. You have to see the sport live with your own eyes to see its phenomenon – reckons Ponitka.
The Polish international does not support a certain team or a specific rider.
– From the foreign riders, I like Tai Woffinden the most. From the Polish riders, it’s Maciej Janowski or the Pawlicki brothers – explains the player.
The Grand Final of TAURON Speedway Euro Championship 2019 takes place on 29th of September at the Slaski Stadium in Chorzow. Tickets are available from 19 zł at eBilet.pl