Polt Reflects on IEM Katowice

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As you know, I have been traveling to many countries to participate in tournaments. However, since accommodations were provided just for the tournament days, I didn’t actually have time to sightsee. Of course it was possible to go around if I was defeated during the early stages of the tournaments, but I didn’t want that happen. Also, because players spent most of their time focusing and preparing for their matches, they didn’t have enough time to really enjoy themselves. Most players, including me, literally flew to a new country, played matches, and came back home. Therefore, players usually don’t get much of an impression of countries we compete in.

I was expecting that it would be the same case at this tournament also. IEM World Championship is one of the biggest tournaments of the year, so I had to focus solely on my matches. There was no thought in my brain to sightsee, when the stakes are that high its hard to think about anything else. The only thing I heard about Katowice was that it’s a small city and there would be nothing much do to there even if I did have the time.

As soon as I saw the venue, I realized I was totally wrong. It was the biggest stage I had ever played on. In fact, the first time I saw the venue it wasn’t full of spectators, but imagining it full later on was enough to become thrilled. Despite an unpleasant incident that happened at my first match, I still felt pleased and looked forward to playing on the stage again. It was still impressive to see the venue on the second day of the tournament. Fortunately, I had a chance to play two complete matches on the stage. I lost my semifinal match but the fans’ chanted for me, even though I lost those kinds of moments are unforgettable.

The fans in Poland were so passionate and it really impressed me. Most fans I met wanted to get my autograph or take pictures and I felt bad because I couldn’t do it for everyone that asked. As I mentioned before, since I like to play on stages with a big crowd, I was enjoying the time with the fans and just competing in front of them was fulfilling. Seeing their reactions after getting my autograph or picture made me enjoy the event even more. In Poland, what stood out the most for me was that I could sense fans were more earnest. I tried to buy some food near the convention area, but I had trouble communicating. One of my fans saw, and he stepped in and made things much easier. The local restaurant I went to on the last day was also great. My manager usually asks some awkward questions about the food and he did it here too. Luckily, we had a truly kind waitress, and we happily enjoyed our dinner. Poland is one of the countries I want to visit again. Hopefully I can see everyone again next year!

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by Choi Seong Hun, on April 9, 2014