Birthdate1 Sep 1986
Athlete of the Month - August 2017
Roman Polianskyi may have come to rowing late but he’s shown he has the talent to make it to the top.
The Ukranian, won Paralympic gold in Rio de Janeiro, just two years after taking up the sport. And he did it in dramatic style - beating the defending Paralympic Champion Cheng Huang, from China, and the World Champion, Erik Horrie, of Australia.
That impressive performance earned him a nomination for FISA’s 2016 Paralympic Crew of the Year.
Polianskyi was initially a sprint para-canoer but had his heart set on the Paralympics and when his event wasn’t included in the Rio schedule he made the switch.
His condition, hereditary spastic paraplegia, means he competed in the AS class in Rio (now known as PR1), where all the power comes from the trunk, arms and shoulders.
Polianskyi has shown he has the stamina for the longer course – taking out at the World Rowing Cup regatta in Poznan in June.
World Rowing: When did you start para-rowing and why did you choose it?
Roman Polianskyi: I started para-rowing in 2013. I chose this sport because I wanted to show power and the desire to do my best during long distance races.
WR: Have you ever done other sports at the top level?
RP: I tried arm wrestling and also did some physical exercises as a part of general training.
WR: Where is your home town?
RP: My home town is Donetsk, Ukraine.
WR: Where do you normally train?
RP: In the cities of Dnipro and Lviv, Ukraine.
WR: What is your biggest achievement?
RP: Rio 2016 Paralympic Games gold medalist
WR: What is your most memorable moment in rowing?
RP: My first race in para-rowing sport in Gavirate, Italy in 2014. I took fourth place.
WR: What is the most challenging part of rowing?
RP: For myself there are two most difficult parts – breathe control and boat control.
WR: What is your favourite course to race on?
RP: I enjoy racing and training in Dnipro, Ukraine and Gavirate, Italy.
WR: How do you prepare on race day?
RP: I try to relax, listen to music and talk to coaches and teammates to get good pieces of advice.a
WR: How have para sports changed since you first started doing them?
RP: The racing distance for para-rowing has been changed – now para-rowers have to race 2000 metres and now I have to concentrate more on my rowing technique. In general there is more attention to para sports in Ukraine and all over the world. Para sports became more attractive to media and there is more support for Paralympic athletes.
WR: Do you train fulltime or have another job?
RP: I am fulltime athlete.
WR: What do you do for fun?
RP: I like to watch films, listen to music, go to the swimming pool and also go fishing.
WR: What is your next big goal?
RP: I would like to win in Sarasota (2017 World Rowing Championships).