BIG-HEARTED BARTEK ANSWERS FIRST COACH’S WHEELCHAIR APPEAL

PAUL BURBIDGE

Big-hearted double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik proved he hasn’t forgotten those who helped him reach the top after buying first coach Bogusław Nowak an electric wheelchair.

Zmarzlik started his racing journey at Nowak’s training school at the age of seven, before he earned his place in the Stal Gorzow senior side.

Nowak was seriously injured on the track in 1988 and has used a wheelchair ever since. Despite that, he has still run training schools, also coaching the likes of former Speedway GP star Krzysztof Cegielski and Pawel Hlib.

A fundraiser was started to help Nowak purchase an electric wheelchair to help him to move around much easier at trackside. But it wasn’t long before his most famous pupil brought the appeal to an end.

He told Sportowefakty.pl: “Bartek called me last week and said that he had read about a wheelchair fundraiser for me.

“He asked how much such equipment costs, and when he heard that it was 25,000 PLN (around €5,300), he only replied that I did not have to collect anymore, because he would like to buy such a wheelchair for me with his own funds. To this day I am touched and I am very happy with such a gesture.”

Nowak admits the electronic wheelchair will make a huge difference. He added:  “I must admit that it is getting more and more difficult for me to overcome obstacles. Driving through muddy terrain to train the kids is an enormous effort and I was afraid that I would not be able to be as active as before.

“In addition, each departure from home involved putting the old chair in the car and changing into the driver’s seat. With my health condition, it is very time consuming and tiring. When I saw that you can do things differently, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.”

Nowak is now seeking a specialist vehicle, which would allow him to get behind the wheel without leaving his chair.

He said: “Thanks to Bartek, I already have a chair, and now I’m collecting for a small bus, which will make my life much easier.

“The authorities of Stal Gorzow have already declared their support, and I hope that other institutions and fans will also help me. I have devoted my whole life to speedway and I would still like to do what I love.”

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