|The Polish women’s national team
was founded in 1947. In their first official
international appearance the White and Reds lost to
Czechoslovakia 1-3, nevertheless Poland soon joined
the group of the world’s top teams and recorded
significant achievements throughout the 1950s and
60s, including two Olympic bronze medals in Tokyo
1964 and Mexico 1968.
Since then, however, the last three decades were not
so successful and the sudden but very enjoyable
change came only in 2003.
New head coach Andrzej Niemczyk, who came back to
the post after 26 years from his first stint,
brought new spirit and gave inspiration to the
previously faithless players of the national team.
He somehow induced them to show their best on the
court and now they do. Poland’s rising power was
visible during the World Grand Prix continental
tournament in 2003, when the home team finished
runner's-up, claiming its spot in the 2004 Grand
Furthermore, the Poles pulled off a huge surprise
during the last European Championship in Turkey,
knocking over the hosts in straight sets in the
final to claim gold.
Malgorzata Glinka was honored as the Best Scorer –
and unofficially the MVP - of the tournament, while
the team’s captain, Magdalena Sliwa, received an
award for the Best Setter.
The Polish team made their debut at the 2003 World
Cup and finished in 8th place and Glinka was once
again a hit, being honored as the MVP of the
In 2004, during the European Olympic Qualification
tournament, Poland played well and beat Russia and
Germany but after losing to Turkey in the semifinals
they lost their chance to qualify for Athens.
Despite this, the Polish team did go on to make an
historic achievement. In July last year Poland
participated in the World Grand Prix for the first
time where they finished eighth, which saw Poland
move from 10th to 8th in the FIVB world rankings.
Furthermore, Poland went on to win the 2005 World
Grand Prix qualification tournament in September
which confirmed their second appearance in the
2005 shapes as another busy year for Poland and
their coach Andrzej Niemczyk, with 2006 World
Championship tournaments and the defence of their
European Championship title, however, none will be
as important as the World Grand Prix, which starts
Overall Standings for Poland
Word Grand Prix Played
Total Matches played
Ryszard Andrzej Niemczyk
Andrzej Niemczyk, a former player, started his coaching career with a small local team but it wasn't long before he was selected to be the head coach of the Polish women’s national team for the first time in 1975. However it was short as he left in 1977, after the European Championships in Finland as he was not able to keep the promise of a medal position, finishing fourth.
From 1980-1989 Niemczyk was in charge of the West German national women’s side and in 1984 his team participated in the Los Angeles Olympic Games, finishing 6th.
Following his time on the international stage Niemczyk spent most of the 90s in Turkey, reaching success with club teams: Eczacibasi Istanbul and Vakifbank Ankara.
After accepting his second term in charge of Poland following the sudden resignation of Zbigniew Krzyzanowski in April 2003, 61-year-old Niemczyk has brought not only a new quality but also a new life into the national side, as he gathered all the best Polish players. His first success was achieved in the European 2004 World Grand Prix qualifying tournament held on home soil in Pila. The home team finished second, to secure a spot in the World Grand Prix for the first time.
But the best was still to come. In September, Poland surprisingly won gold at the European Championship in Turkey. That was the first ever continental title for any Polish senior team.
In 2004, despite not qualifying for the Olympics, Niemczyk took his team to eighth place in the 2004 World Grand Prix to see their world ranking rise from 10 to 8 position. Now, in 2005, Niemczyk and his team have a lot of work to do but despite his struggle with cancer over the years, he has never slowed down. As he said himself: “I am a person, who wants to win everything.”