Poland Claim Olympic
Porto, Portugal, May 23, 2004 - Poland secured a place at the
2004 Athens Olympics on Sunday with a comprehensive 3-0 defeat
of Kazakhstan in their third and final match of the Olympic
Qualifying Tournament in Porto.
The 25-15, 25-13, 25-22 victory left Poland with an unbeaten
record in the event and followed their thrilling five-set defeat
of hosts Portugal on Saturday evening.
The Poles also beat Venezuela 3-0 in their opening tie on
Second place in the standings went to Venezuela after the Pan
American champions defeated Portugal 26-24, 27-25, 25-21 in the
“Up until this point we have only been thinking about this
tournament and not about playing in the Olympic Games - but it
feels great to have claimed our place in Athens,” said Poland
coach Stanislaw Gosciniak, who was part of the Polish team that
won the 1976 Olympic gold in Montreal.
“It is too early to say what we can achieve in Athens. Only now
we can begin our preparations and we have a lot of hard work
ahead of us.”
Polish captain Pawel Zagummy explained how it was crucial that
his team were not complacent going into the game against
“The third game sealed our route to Athens but it was our
victory over Portugal in the second match which was the key to
our success,” said Zagummy.
“The most important thing was that we did not underestimate
Kazakhstan. We had to make sure we played our best against
Portugal were unable to bounce back from their disappointment at
losing to Poland – a defeat that effectively put paid to their
Olympic qualifying chances – and Juan Diaz’s team had to settle
for third place in the Porto standings.
“Venezuela were very well organized and more focused than we
were today,” said Portugal’s Brazilian coach Juan Diaz. “We
played well against Poland on Saturday but we were beaten at the
end by a team ranked higher in the world than us.
“Had Venezuela beaten Poland in the opening round then I think
you would have seen a very different performance from us today.”
Kazakhstan finished rooted to the bottom with no wins and coach
Alexandr Zapevalov will be disappointed his team were unable to
claim a set.