Poland’s Natalia Maliszewska celebrated her 500m silver medal on home ice like a champion, feeling the support from her compatriots despite the empty stands at Gdansk’s Hala Olivia arena.
“This silver medal is a big win and I’m totally amazed and happy,” the 25-year-old said at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2021 in the Polish port city.
“Even though we didn’t have that many people here I have felt so much support from my friends and family.
“I think that my dad had a heart attack because he was really happy that we are skating in Poland. Everything that we did here is amazing.”
The 2019 ISU European Short Track Speed Skating 500m champion’s picture adorned the large posters promoting Poland’s biggest-ever international Short Track Speed Skating competition. Finishing second in Saturday’s final behind outstanding Dutch star Suzanne Schulting, Maliszewska hopes that her efforts can boost the sport in her homeland.
“I am happy to get that medal because I hope that it will make Short Track a little more popular in Poland,” she said.
“I’m happy to be at home and to be hosted by Gdansk, it’s an amazing feeling. I hope that we can do it again because I can just imagine all the people being in the crowds.”
Natalia Maliszewska (POL) and Suzanne Schulting (NED) at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2021©International Skating Union (ISU)
After Schulting defended the title she won in the event at 2020’s ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships, held in Debrecen, Hungary, the two medalists embraced on the ice, happy to be back competing again after nearly a year without international Short Track Speed Skating action.
“It was amazing to skate again, to feel the speed and the adrenaline,” Maliszewska said.
“No matter what will happen here now, we are grateful that this competition happened.”
She is confident that she is able to beat Schulting, who also won the 1500m final on Saturday.
“She’s amazing. She’s fast. But I know that I’m fast too and I’m working on myself and I need to think about myself.”