Polish veterans give their view on Poland's Olympic chances
Poland had to have two bites of the cherry before qualifying for the Olympics via the World Olympic Qualification Tournament and finished a lowly 10th in the Preliminary Round of the FIVB World League. That may have been partly understandable as they were hosts of the Final Round, but they could only manage one win in Krakow.
Three Polish greats – Wlodzimierz Sadalski, Edward Skorek and Tomasz Wojtowicz – who were world champions in 1974 and Olympic champions in 1976, talked about the prospects of the current team, ranked No. 2 in the world.
Włodzimierz Sadalski: “The current composition of the Polish team is quite different from the one that won the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Poland 2016. There is no big favourite to win the Olympic tournament. No team has such an advantage over the rest as Brazil used to have in the years 2004-2006. The gold medals in Rio de Janeiro may go to one of six teams. Poland is one of them.
Edward Skorek: “Our national team have not been playing too well lately. I would estimate their chances for gold medals at 50 per cent. There will be many challengers and the tournament is very hard and demanding. Game strength in modern volleyball depends on opposites and outside hitters. I think in this situation Michal Kubiak, Bartosz Kurek and Mateusz Mika may play the key roles in our Olympic team. Maybe one of our third wing spikers will become an important link in the team.”
Tomasz Wojtowicz: “I hope that the form we lack now will explode in Rio. It will be very difficult to win the gold. Six teams aspire to the top place at the podium. Small details and their disposition on the day may decide about winning or losing. Team captain Michal Kubiak is an important player. Bartosz Kurek scores a lot of points when he’s in shape. Mateusz Mika has the key role in the team. He can play on attack, in reception, as well as at the net and in block.”