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Our PhD student to compete in European Curling Championships

Bartosz Dzikowski has been a curling player since 2006; photo: Marlex Team Katowice

Bartosz Dzikowski has been a curling player since 2006; photo: Marlex Team Katowice

The Polish national men’s curling team will compete in Division A, or Europe’s top 10 best national squads for the first time ever. The Warsaw University of Technology is part of this historical event as we have one of us on the team. His name is Bartosz Dzikowski and he is a PhD student at the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology.

This year, the best curlers of Europe are meeting up in Tallinn, Estonia. The Championships are running from November 16 to 24. Poland will be represented by the winners of the national qualifiers: Marlex Team Katowice composed of Michał Kozioł, Jeremi Telak, Jakub Głowania, Bartosz Dzikowski and Tomasz Zioło.

“Curling is different from many other well-known sports: there is no selection of players from various clubs to form a national team; instead, one team who work and train together every day is picked,” explains Bartosz Dzikowski.

The qualification process for the European Championships is two-staged: first, you have to make it on the podium in the National Championships, and then you need to win the qualifying tournament.

Preparing for such an important competition is always a big challenge for the teams, because Poland has only one professional curling facility in Łódź.

“Now, as the European Championships draw closer, we meet there every weekend to train,” says Bartosz Dzikowski. “One of us is from Łódź, but three other members come from Silesia and I travel from Warsaw.”

Inspired by the Olympic spirit

Curling is a very old sport dating back to the Middle Ages. To play the game, you need an ice rink (a well-prepared one: no holes, chips or gouges), stones and brooms. The goal is to place stones as close as possible to the center of the house, or circles painted on the ice. A curling match involves two teams of four or mixed pairs.

“The first impulse to take up curling came from television,” says Bartosz Dzikowski recalling his beginnings. “I watched the 2002 Olympic Games and the Words.” When a curling section was established at the MKS Axel club in my native city of Toruń in 2006, I signed up.

In 2014, Bartosz Dzikowski changed clubs to Marlex Team Katowice. With this team, he made it to the Nationals’ final game four times in a row, finishing with two gold and two silver medals.

This year will see our curlers make their first ever appearance in Division A European Championships; photo: Marlex Team Katowice

This year will see our curlers make their first ever appearance in Division A European Championships; photo: Marlex Team Katowice

Secrets of curling

“Curling is quite a unique sport, the fair play rules being at the heart of the game,” says our PhD student. “We have our own code of conduct, which in a nutshell says that a curler prefers to lose than to cheat his way to win. A curler will never disturb his or her opponent and will always let them show all their skills. I like that very much.”

Bartosz Dzikowski balances his passion for curling with doctoral studies in Electronics. “My Master’s thesis discussed moisture sensor monitoring and now I am continuing with the topic,” he explains. “And I look for similarities in curling. I am interested in describing and modeling the curling stone movement across the curling sheet as this is something that has not been described in detail in terms of physical aspects for 100 years. Only this year, a publication offering insights into this has come out. I have authored one publication covering the topic myself. I hope new ones will follow, perhaps even a doctoral dissertation.”

For now, the primary goal is the Europeans. “We want to secure a spot in the top 8 as this will ensure that Poland remains eligible to play in Division A,” says Bartosz Dzikowski. “The bar is raised very high: we will compete against Olympic and Worlds medalists but we will certainly do our best.” 

The travel to the European Championships is wholly arranged and funded by the players themselves. All of us can help them get better prepared for their big game and arrange their trip and stay by joining the crowdfunding initiative.