On Sunday, pole vault star Anna Rogowska will compete for the world indoor title in her hometown of Sopot, Poland. She tells SPIKES where to go for a coffee, a quick swim, and a race down the pier.
How long have you lived in Sopot?
“I was born there, still live there and probably will in the future. It is the place on earth where I experience the greatest joy.”
How far are you from the Ergo Arena?
“It is about a 10-15 minute car journey, depending on traffic.”
What is the best thing about living in Sopot?
“It is a beautiful small town between two big cities: Gdansk and Gdynia. We not only have a wonderful seaside, but also nice mountains where we can go skiing in the winter.
“Sopot was a small fishing village but has developed into a tourist centre famous for its hotels and casinos. I live in the forest, a few minutes walk from the city centre or the seaside. I love the place.”
What should the world best athletes do while they’re in Sopot?
“To go to the pier, of course [Sopot boasts the longest wooden pier in Europe]. Or go jogging around the hills and then swim in our ‘hot’ Baltic sea!
“For those with a lucky streak, I’d recommend visiting our famous casino at the Grand Hotel. But, remember, I can’t guarantee a win!”
Where are your three favourite places to hang out in the city?
“The Spa Club at the Sheraton Hotel, right by the seaside. For a good coffee and something sweet, I’d choose my favourite cafe called Zatoka Sztuki: it offers a beautiful view of the sea. The third place is the Bulaj, a small restaurant which is great for fresh fish.”
Pole over: Rogowska is ranked No.1 in 2014
Do you feel any extra pressure to win gold as it is in your home city?
“I don’t know whether you can describe it as pressure, it is more a bigger motivation. But I am already very happy that I have the possibility to compete at a global championship in my hometown.”
You had a nasty head injury, breaking a bone behind you ear in December. How has it hampered your preparations for Sopot?
“I took about a one month break from training, but now I am physically in really good shape. I’m currently working on some technical elements, but I believe I’m now well prepared. I jumped a world leading mark of 4.76m in Ghent, which has given me confidence.”
You have won silver and bronze at the world indoor champs before, so what would it mean to win gold in Sopot?
“It would mean I would have the complete indoor set and I could start to collect such a set outdoors as well [Rogowska was world outdoor champion in 2009].
“The coolest thing I could do is win a medal in my hometown.”
We read that Sopot has the longest wooden pier in Europe, at 512m. But who would win a race down the pier, Usain Bolt or David Rudisha?
“I will not bet on the outcome, because maybe one of the Polish runners could win! Whoever would win, it would be a great performance. The question is whether they could swim after the finish line!”
Sopot also has an International Song Festival. Are you a good singer?
“Yes, I am a great singer, but unfortunately only in my dreams.”
How excited are you about competing in Sopot 2014?
“It is one of the biggest moments of my life and I’m very happy to be given the possibility of competing. I hope that all participants will be happy to be my guest in Sopot.”