• November 3, 2012
  • 252

Rekść: I will never sell Lithuania

Rekst

Currently it is popular to buy sportsmen, but it is not for me because I am a patriot.—said Ryszard Rekść, an athlete specialising in race walking, to PL DELFI. —During the election I voted for my people, for AWLP— he emphasized.

Is it every sportsman’s dream to go to the Olympics?

This year I met the limits required by the Olympic Committee and I could take part in the Olympics. Unfortunately, there were three candidates, and my result was the third one. But in case of unexpected situations or an injury (I don’t wish any sportsmen to get hurt) of the first two candidates, I would be invited to take part in the competition.

What is your greatest accomplishment in race walking?

On the world championships my biggest success was 36th place. In Lithuania and Poland, I was often the first one.

How does the salary look like?

I live off the sport. But after the Olympics in London, Lithuanian National Olympic Committee has no money so I am not receiving it. They only help in organising training camps.

So you are looking for a job?

No, I still do the sports. But I have to register on the job market, to avoid paying these 77 litas, which is the obligatory health insurance.

You can make some money from working at schools, as a PE teacher or a coach.

I could, but I have to devote all my time to training, because next year there are world championships, so I have to prepare myself well.

There was parliamentary election. Whom did you vote for?

Of course for my people, that is for AWLP. I like one of the points in their programme. The one in which they declare better financing of sports activities in schools. I know many of the candidates personally. Even my school teachers were running for a seat.

Recently, you were seen in a dance show with Katarzyna Niemyćko. Do you know her?

I met Katarzyna while filming the latest episode of the dance show. She is a really nice person. She does not put on airs, as other celebrities do. She dances fantastically and I wish her the victory.

Does practicing sports help in life?

Apart from all the physical advantages, doing sports improves one’s character. It teaches discipline and psychological balance, especially in our sport, when we fight on long distances.

Do you often go abroad?

Training camps are organised all around the world. We train in different climatic conditions, so we are often taken to various countries. I have travelled through the whole Europe, half of Asia and Africa. Of course, all for free.

What about the family?

I simply have no time. If you want to achieve something in sports, you should give up many things in your life. I do not want to enter a long term relationship now, because most of the time I spend on travelling and training, which is not good for a family’s life.

And cigarettes or alcohol?

No cigarettes, I wouldn’t run a kilometre. After a competition we often drink a glass of wine, we are humans.

I know you have many brothers and sisters. What did your childhood look like?

I have four brothers and five sisters. There are ten of us. The childhood was not hard, we didn’t have financial problems. Our parents gave us good upbringing and a possibility to study and go to universities. We didn’t have to find a job in whatever place just after school.
In 2004 Rolandas Paksas, who was then the president of Lithuania, honoured my mother with a silver medal for her merits for Lithuania. He thanked her for upbringing her children well, as we caused no problems for teachers of for the police.

What are the typical problems of sportsmen?

We lack financial means. We have to train in mountains, in winters we have to go to warmer countries, so we never have too many sponsors.

What the sponsors get in turn?

Advertising, obviously. Besides, at the end of a financial year the companies do not have to pay tax on the money put in sports.

Did you consider emigration?

Yes, I had such thoughts. Polish coaches often asked me, half joking: “Why do you wear Lithuanian colours, not Polish ones?” I always respond that I am a patriot but a great amount of money can weaken the belief in patriotism. Now it is popular to buy sportsmen but it is not for me. I want to fight for the sport, for Lithuania, and I will not sell myself.

Any other activities?

I am the coach’s helper in the basketball team “Fabricio”, since now I can run individual or group kinesiotherapy classes or help someone to lose weight.

How did your sports career begin?

In fourth grade, which was in 1994, I started running, and I have been training race walking since 2006, which is six years. After finishing the school I joined the Lithuanian Educological University. I studied PE there to be a coach. I belong to the Olympic representation of Lithuania.

In what contests have you participated?

At the beginnings it was in Lithuania, so the Championship of Lithuania. Then I was prticipating in local championships in other countries. I was fighting for various cups. Then I became ready for Europe and World Championships.

Where do you train?

In Vingis park or in a sports hall.

How long does a race walking career last?

In my sport it lasts until you are more or less 40, so I still have plenty of time.

Source:  http://pl.delfi.lt/kultura/kultura/reksc-nigdy-nie-sprzedam-litwy.d?id=59900681

Tłumaczenie Emilia Zawieracz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Emilia Zawieracz the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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