A polishing act

Spirited sportsman

A polishing act

Diverse shades colour the powerful red team, ‘Bengaluru Bulls’ of the Pro Kabaddi League, but the player who has grabbed eyeballs and garnered maximum attention this season is Poland-based Michal Spiczko.

He is the first Polish to be enrolled in kabaddi and has rubbed his hue into this home-grown sport. Poles apart from any other player in the team, he began to scramble on the sand and unearth its secrets after his experience in kayaking, dodging a few fouls in basketball and tackling American football.

He says, “I trained in American football back home. Once, my manager called me and said that I should try out a new sport and play kabaddi as a few Indians were trying to find players from other countries.” Though unusual and a different ball game for him at that time, Michal took the bull by the horns and began to Google the rules of the game. He found that the spin of players and poetic play on sand was very similar to a traditional contact sport in Poland called ‘Berek’ and felt that he would be good at it. 

He notices fundamental similarities between American football and kabaddi as the two employ the basics of footwork, brisk running, tackling the opponents, a combination of physical and mental strength and quick presence of mind. He enjoys the team spirit and fervour that the game brings in and believes that kabaddi, an Indian sport of the soil, will prosper and become popular in Europe.

However, the Polish isn’t playing for this League and is observing the game from the bench as he is yet to polish his technique. “I didn’t have time to prepare here as I came only two days prior to the League because of visa issues. However, I can see that the team doesn’t have a lot of time to practise as they have to train and rest. The pressure point comes in due to lack of time.” Though he can speak a bit of Hindi, he is currently communicating with the other members only through body language and is trying to teach his teammates a few words of English.

    “Right now, I am working on Che Lathan,” he laughs. He found Bengaluru very unique and has met a number of interesting fans here. He adds that he was surprised to see a number of varieties of ‘dal’ and cites ‘dal and chappati’, “a simple yet tasty dish”, as his favourite Indian cuisine.

 He definitely wants to come back to India again. Since he manages an IT firm back home, when asked if that would pose a challenge to come back to the country too often, “Oh! Not at all,” he laughs. “My partner is managing the firm there. The good thing is you can take all the holidays you want when you’re the boss.” Michal says he doesn’t want to choose between American football and kabaddi but if it ever comes to that stage, he would opt for the latter.

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