Student of the 2nd year of the Master’s Management Program
Marek can’t imagine life without sport. For him it is a distraction from everyday life and physical limitations. Our student has tried many sports, but shooting was the one in which he found himself. The number of medals and awards Mark has received is really impressive. In the last few months alone he won a silver medal in carbine shooting at the European Championships in Rotterdam in August. Then in September he got the team gold medal at the World Championships in Peru and qualified for the Paralympic Games of Paris 2024. He won the Lubusk Cup in October as well. He keeps pushing forward, combining sports with his studies at UEHS, as he sees himself not only as an sportsman, but also as a future manager of a club or sports association. He’s sure: it’s important to turn every failure into a success.
Your face has already appeared on our university’s site many times, so we know you quite well 🙂
But we don't know where you are from, where and how your childhood was. How old are you?
I was born in Warsaw so my entire childhood is connected with this city. I’m 25 years old.
I’ve always been interested in sports. When I was still a physically healthy teenager, I practiced karate. After a back injury, I couldn’t imagine life without sports either.
I don't know if I may ask this question, but tell me, how old were you when your accident happened?
I was 13 years old. From the moment I got in a wheelchair, I have tried many activities such as dog frisbee, swimming, and wheelchair basketball, athletics, street running, wheelchair crossfit among others. But it was only with sport shooting that I hit the bull’s-eye.
Why did you choose shooting, this particular sport?
It’s just that when I tried shooting, after a few training sessions I felt that I had finally found the right one. Shooting is an individual sport.I have to be in charge of my own body, keep control of my stress level, heart rate and breathing. I have to focus on specific, repetitive actions while taking a shot.
For me, this sport is a distraction from my daily life, from the physical limitations. It also gives me a great opportunity to meet people and see new places I might not have traveled to on my own. In addition, the acquaintances often turn into friendships.
The European Shooting Championship was held in the Netherlands in August. Congratulations on your success! As always, you’re at the top! What were your results? Which competitions?
At the European Championships in Rotterdam in August I won a silver medal in the R1 type competition – 60 air rifle shots at a distance of 10 meters.
How long did your preparation take?
I train extremely intensively for ten months of the year. The other two are more relaxed, but that doesn’t mean I give up on practicing completely. I have access to an air rifle range year round. But when I’m practicing ball shooting, I use the courtesy of friendly clubs who give me access to their training facilities. For this purpose, I have to travel outside Warsaw quite often.
I understand that your main motivation is to achieve higher and higher results. But how do you cope with failures, is it an additional motivation or a reason for distress?
I try to be critical of my starts, because they can always be better. But every competition is a new experience with different conditions. Afterwards I analyze everything and try not to repeat the same mistakes. Every defeat is an important lesson in humility, it teaches you how to deal with stress and your own weaknesses. I try to stay positive about all of it. Fortunately, to date, I have more successes than failures. I train under the guidance of kind and considerate people who pick up on my every flaw, mistake, bad skill. Thanks to opening myself up to new contacts, I have new opportunities and a chance to develop. It’s important to turn every failure into a success.
What is the level of competitiveness at the championships, how do you feel being there?
In general, every championship is highly competitive and high level. Often the sportsmen cope best with their stress win, despite the fact they didn’t have the best results during practice, so I always try to keep calm and give my best.
Who supports you in achieving your athletic goals?
It’s hard to name one person. Obviously family, but also a lot of good people I meet along my way. Sometimes it’s 1:1 training, sometimes it’s the opportunity to use the facility, and sometimes it’s a discount to buy necessary equipment. Unfortunately, I mostly cover my own expenses related to the sport.
You are studying management at UEHS. Why did you choose our university? Why exactly management?
I chose the university on the recommendation of my friends, and management – because it allows me to realize my plans for the future. I’m thinking about a job related to sports, not only as a sportsman, but also as a manager of a club or sports association.
I’ve got a Bachelor’s degree in Human Capital Management and these three years were very exciting! The lecturers were great, especially Dr. Barbara Sypniewska, my contact with her is always great. Day-time studies were very important to me when I started my Master’s program because weekends are usually busy, often dedicated to travel and competitions.
How are your studies going in general? How is your master's work progressing?
The defense of my bachelor’s thesis went unexpectedly well. But I didn’t manage to defend my Master’s thesis in time, so I want to make up for it this academic year. I passed all subjects on time, but I didn’t have enough time to write my thesis ‘cause in September I participated in the World Championship in Peru and qualified for the next Paralympic Games.
Congratulations! As for our university, do you think it is prepared for people with disabilities? What kind of additional support does it need?
The university, especially the building, is definitely prepared for people with special needs. However, I’ve met some difficulties when it comes to supporting my sports activities.
What kind of support are you talking about? This could be an important clue for the university for the future.
The university has an Academic Sports Association (AZS) – in my opinion, it would be nice if AZS opened up to new disciplines over time and supported sportsmen outside of the sports sections it contains. But I realize that UEHS is a university focused on academic results not physical education.
How often do you communicate with the university's administrative staff, the disability office (BON)?
Do you still love cars? Do you visit tuned car shows and rallies? Why is motorsport so attractive to you?
Motorsport is still my passion. Before flying to Peru, the Finał Drift Masters Europe Championship was held at the National Stadium. It was an unforgettable experience! I advise everyone to join this event in the future!
Motorsport is my real hobby, I love to watch it and take photos – quite good ones actually – from rallies, exhibitions and competitions.
What would you recommend to students with similar interests? Where else should they go in Warsaw?
My city is developing at an amazing pace, so it’s hard for me to even recommend any specific places. I think the most important thing is to be in a good company, in which you can visit the most interesting museums, new atmospheric restaurants or just gyms.
Thank you, Mark, for the interview, for your opinion and example of how to stay strong and resilient day in and day out!
We wish you further endless victories!
UEHS in Warsaw
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