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2017-01-17 10:07:00 CET

More Than Sports: Big changes in Poland

Polish men are on the rise

The Polish men are turning everything topsy-turvy. In the last season, they had five teams challenging the other nations at the FIVB World Tour. From now on, only Rio Grand Slam Champions Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Łosiak will continue together. Marisuz Prudel/Grzegorz Fijałek, Michal Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz, Maciej Rudol/Maciej Kosiak and Michal Bryl/ Kacper Kujawiak split and go on in new combinations.

Szalankiewicz continues with Rudol, Fijalek plays with Bryl, and his former partner Prudel tries to improve with Kujawiak. It’s time for new impulses and also to get experience for the young players,” Grzegorz Klimek says. To make the big chance complete, the 33-year-old is the new head coach of the Polish men. He follows the footsteps of Martin Olejnak, who is becoming new head coach of the German men. Grzegorz has been Martin’s assistant for the last four years.

The Polish squad is on the rise. Credit: Grzegorz Klimek.The Polish squad is on the rise. Credit: Grzegorz Klimek.

“Martin is my friend, I learned a lot from him and now he is on the other side, that’s sad,” Grzegorz says. Instead of Martin, the Polish coaching staff gets help from someone who worked for Germany before. Spiros Karachalios, the former coach of Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude, is the second coach beside Grzegorz. “There is still nothing clear in Germany with the centralization of the women and now it’s the middle of January. That’s a little late for planning,” he says, explaining one reason for his change to the project in Poland.

In Poland, Matuesz Radojewski is joining the new Polish team. “We have three coaches now, a big team,” Grzegorz says. Poland has big goals as well: They want to qualify with four teams for the World Championships in Vienna and the European Championships in Jurmala. Poland is known for its outstanding work with young talent. They managed to generate two teams in the top 10 ranking, and three more, who finished under the top 35 in the FIVB World Tour ranking. But they want more. “A medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 would be great,” Grzegorz says. “After Rio we are smarter.”

Grzegorz Fijałek and Mariusz Prudel need new challenges after eight successful years together. Credit: Bernhard HorstGrzegorz Fijałek and Mariusz Prudel need new challenges after eight successful years together. Credit: Bernhard Horst

Having had three senior and two junior teams in action over the past few years, Poland now has four national men’s teams. Not only that, new young teams are working on taking the next step. “Without centralization it would be very hard to have good players in Poland,” Grzegorz explains. Nevertheless, he thinks having four teams practicing together all the time is not the best idea. At the moment, he is with Losiak/Kantor and Rudol/Szalankiewicz at Fuerteventura, while Spiros works with Fijalek/Bryl and Prudel/Kujawiak in Tenerife. “Four teams at the same place is hard,” Grzegorz says. “Especially, if you want to practice with teams from other countries.”

The next big goal of all of them is the season opening the Fort Lauderdale Major, where all four teams are in line to participate.

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