October 29, 2003, Warsaw, Poland – Andrzej Niemczyk, head coach of the European Women’s Championship winning team Poland, believes his team can finish inside the top six at the 2003 Women’s World Cup in Japan and gain possible Olympic qualification.
“I believe we will be able to finish between 3rd and 6th,” Niemczyk said. “We will try to gain an Olympic qualification berth (which is allocated to the top three teams) but even if we fail to we are going to show to the world we can play good Volleyball.”
Poland, who qualified for the World Cup after their historic victory to take the gold medal at the 2003 European Championship, are the competition's dark horse. Clearly a team whose star is on the ascent, they are respected and recognized by the leading teams as a potentially tough opponent.
Following the completion of Poland’s World Cup preparation camp held in the Szczyrk mountain resort, Niemczyk, selected his final squad based on the European Championship team but containing a number of forced changes.
Among those who will be staying at home is Joanna Mirek, who got severely injured only minutes before the opening game at the European Championship and will not be able to play until spring and Dorota Swieniewicz, who, although she has not suffered any serious injury, she isn’t completely fit. Her decision to take some time out and recuperate was accepted by the coach.
The third “golden girl” who will not play in the World Cup is libero, Dominika Lesniewicz. Niemczyk chose Mariola Barbachowska instead, proving once again that he is not afraid to make tough decisions.
Among the new faces are young and talented Izabela Zebrowska, a member of the Polish junior team which claimed bronze at the 2003 World Championship and Kamila Fratczak.
Poland, who arrives in Japan on Thursday, will be making its debut in the women’s World Cup.
Polish Team for the 2003 World Cup
Setters: Izabela Belcik and Magdalena Sliwa
Receivers and attackers: Kamila Fratczak, Malgorzata Glinka, Malgorzata Niemczyk-Wolska, Anna Podolec, Aleksandra Przybysz
Middle blockers: Maria Liktoras, Anna Mroz, Katarzyna Skowronska, Izabela Zebrowska
Libero: Mariola Barbachowska