A few weeks ago we sat down with the man behind one of the largest events in our sport – Gerhard Polak. We wanted to know why he changed the event from the PWA to the EFPT, if it was a forced decision and if he considered it a downgrade. Well, the answers might just surprise. Read on to see what’s in store for the first event on the international freestyle calendar this year and how our interview just got one lucky competitor another €1,000. That’s alright don’t mention it, a beer at the closing party will be enough.
You made the decision to drop the PWA for 2014 and take on the EFPT instead, can you tell us some reasons why you decided to change?
It came down to a number of factors in the end. The first is really that for this event to grow we need something new each year to offer the press and media supporters. Something that they can focus on but also include other ongoing activities and this year it got to the point that we, and many others, had expressed interest to see Sarah Quita Offringa compete in the men’s discipline. So we wanted to invite her for one of the wild cards, whilst she was keen unfortunately the PWA were not so keen and would not allow us to have her as a special guest without some overwhelming costs to run a full female fleet as well. On top of that, the answer which came back from the PWA was some two and half months after I had sent the initial request!
The trouble was that we had run a women’s event almost 10 years before and honestly, it was a disaster, but only a disaster due to the fact that we had no Austrian rider who was challenging the top and still we don’t have this. So from an Austrian perspective we need our country to get behind an individual, this in turn helps push the event nationwide and keep it profitable so that we can look to run it again in the future.