Commentary Polish army

Haters mock sprint champion for joining military

Opposition supporters have thrown a wave of hate at Polish sprinting champion Iga Baumgart-Witan due to her joining the Territorial Defense Brigade (WOT). The sportswoman has defended herself on social media.

Baumgart-Witan’s haters accused her of politicizing sport and supporting Law and Justice (PiS). WOT was the flagship idea of former defense minister Antoni Macierewicz.

“First of all, I applied for military training alongside other sportsmen and women so that I could later join the Military Sports Team and participate in competitions not only as a Pole and citizen of Bydgoszcz, but also as a recruit at the Military World Championships and the Military Olympics which will take place in China this year,” Witan defended herself.

“We are local patriots who during times of peace will serve our voivodship, town and region”

Witan expressed hopes at serving her nation alongside her fellow sportswomen. “My friends from the track and relay have already undergone such training and became soldiers of the Polish Army. I hope that we’ll be able to run together with one goal and after the runs, if we decide to stay in the military, serve Poland in other ways," she said. 

Some mocked Witan for joining WOT, claiming that it isn’t the military but a “boy-scout” organization and those who join it are nobodies. The champion rebutted those accusations and told those who would insult WOT that they should “slap themselves right in the head”

“Those people [in WOT] aren’t there for money, but due to wanting to help their own, we operate where we live and we are local patriots who during times of peace will serve our voivodship, town and region,” Witan concluded.

Iga Baumgart-Witan took bronze in the World Championship in relay racing 4x400m and is a  triple European champion. Iga Baumgart-Witan is not the only Polish athletics champion to join the military: Justyna Święty-Ersetic, Sofia Ennaoui and Paulina Guba serve the 36th aerial rocket defense division.

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