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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.