Poland rank among the teams with
a great tradition in Volleyball. They participated
in the first World Championship held in 1949, in
Czechoslovakia, where they took fourth place – a
success they were to repeat at the next event in
1956, in France, and at the one to follow in 1960,
in Brazil. A great era was about to begin, and for
Poland the 1970s meant worldwide recognition and
domination in international Volleyball. In 1974 they
celebrated the World Championship gold medal in
Mexico, and, two years later, reached absolute
triumph by winning gold at the Montreal Olympic
tournament. Between 1975 and 1983, the Poles climbed
five times to second place in the European
Championships, and took fourth place at the 1980
Moscow Olympic Games. For a long period after that,
Poland was absent from the international stage, only
to return among the world’s elite in the late 1990s,
and remain there until now.
After being absent from three Olympic Tournaments,
they returned in 1996 in Atlanta, where they had to
make do with 11th place. Soon after they began to
frequent the World League Top-8 rankings (1999-8th,
2000-8th, 2001-7th, 2003-5th), which led Poland to
9th place in this year’s world rankings.
With their current line-up mainly consisting of the
1997 World Junior Champions, and such names as Dawid
Murek, Pawel Zagumny, Piotr Gruzska and Arkadiusz
Golas standing out, Poland aim to become the Olympic
tournament’s pleasant surprise, in line with their
rising progress of the last few years.
This year’s World League saw them just miss out on a
Final Round spot as Bulgaria pipped them at the head
on Pool B, but they showed they have an excellent
array of attacking options and a defense, which
never fails to quit.
May’s Olympic Qualification tournament in Portugal
produced an excellent performance from the White and
Reds, where they beat Portugal, Venezuela and
Kazakhstan and is further proof that coach Stanislaw
Gosciniak has laid an excellent platform for Athens.