Once again Stare Jablonki showed its best side as the creamof the
beach volleyball world descended on the shores of Lake Mazury
for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Mazury 2013.
looks back on a tournament that put smiles on the
faces of everyone involved and marked the venue’s 10th year of
hosting an FIVB tournament in glorious style.
If there was any doubt that the Polish love their beach volleyball, then
those doubts would have been washed away in an instance after
seeing the steams of smiling faces heading towards centre court at
Beach Volleyball World Championships in Mazury.
Every day thousands headed to the lakeside venue to watch the
athletes in the beach volleyball world battle to be crowned world
champions. They loved their local heroes and filled the 9,000-capacity
centre court whenever they were in action, but stayed and cheered
on the players from foreign shores afterwards.
Away from the courts the grounds were a sea of life as sun-baked
bathers went for a swim in the lake, children tried to replicate the
skills they had witnessed on court and the hungry sated their appetite
with the wide range of refreshments on offer. The tone was set when
there was barely a space to be found during a spectacular opening
ceremony and it continued for the rest of the week.
Most of the praise for these scenes should go to host tournament
president Andrzej Dowgiallo, his son Tomasz and tournament
manager Daniel Blaszkiewicz. They have been the heart and soul of
the tournament ever since it launched as a men’s-only Open in 2004
and through its maturation to a Grand Slam and onwards to the
World Championships.
At the heart of their philosophy is putting the players at the centre
of the action, ensuring that their every want and need is taken care
of. With that in place, they were able to ensure that the stands
and grounds were packed and the twin philosophies combined to
spectacular effect at the World Championships in Mazury.
Unfortunately the marvellous Polish fans couldn’t get the one thing
that they truly wanted; a Polish victory.
Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel were the most likely pair to win a
medal, but after they had gone through pool play unbeaten they were
caught out by Pedro Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt’s return to form
after the fourth seeded Brazilians slipped to two defeats in their pool.
Michal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz went the furthest of any of
the Polish men’s teams when they reached the last 16, but there they
met the in-form German duo of Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik,
who won in straight sets en route to the bronze medal.
Still there is hope for Poland that their vociferous fans will eventually
be able to salute senior world champions.
Kinga Kolosinska and Monika Brzostek won the 2009 U21
World Championships and while they were making their World
Championships debuts in Mazury, they showed enough flashes of
skill to suggest that it won’t be too long before they start to challenge
the upper echelons of the sport.
It was a similar story for Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak in the men’s
competition. They beat three higher-ranked teams in pool play and
then put up a fierce battle before losing to Canada’s Ben Saxton and
Chaim Schalk in the first elimination round.
Even though their debut World Championships ended sooner than
they would have liked, their record of success at age-group level,
which includes U23, U21 and U19 world titles are good enough
reasons to suspect that they are likely to add another in the not too
distant future and truly give the Polish fans something to shout about.
The children were thrilled with the presence of Olympic champion Carlão
Eighty children participated in the programme at Icarai Beach in Niterói
Poland maintain enviable
record at age-group level
Poland’s age-group success showed no sign of slowing down as
their teams won two medals at the FIVB U21 Beach Volleyball World
Championships in Umag, Croatia.
Katarzyna Kociolek and Jagoda Gruszscynska claimed gold with a
straight sets win over Germany’s Anika Krebs and Jelena Wlk, while
Maciej Kosiak and Maciej Rudol defeated Russia’s Maxim Zhirkov and
Ostap Firsov in the men’s bronze medal match.
For Kociolek it was her second Umag gold after she finished first at
the U19 World Champions with Karolina Baran in 2011. Kociolek and
Gruszczynska also beat the Germans for the second time in a final;
in 2012 they took gold at the U20 CEV European Championships.
Brazil’s Gustavo Carvalhaes and Allison Cittadin needed only two
sets to beat Canada’s Grant O’Gorman and Aaron Nusbaum to win
the men’s gold, while Austria’s Katharina Schutzenhofer and Jena
Plesiutschnig took third place in the women’s competition.