Polish volleyball celebrates 90th anniversary at a spectacular event in Warsaw
Lausanne, Switzerland, January 12, 2019 - Ninety years of volleyball in Poland were celebrated at a grand gala in the country’s capital Warsaw over the weekend. In the presence of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda, volleyball was acclaimed as the most successful team sport in the central European country.
“Our men’s volleyball team won the World Championship for the second time in a row, confirming their hegemony. If something is repeated, then it leaves no doubt. There is no other team sport in Poland that could match these achievements,” President Duda said. “Long live volleyball!”
Over the course of the weekend, the men’s national squad of Poland received the Polish Olympic Committee’s Piotr Nurowski Great Honorary Sports Award in the team category.
Saturday night’s gala itself was a virtual journey through 90 years of Polish volleyball and the sport’s highest achievements in history were recognized with several generations of Polish volleyball stars duly honoured.
Special distinctions were awarded to Piotr Gruszka and Magdalena Sliwa, the two players with the most caps (450 and 359, respectively) in the white and red colours.
The women’s national team, 1964 and 1968 Olympic bronze medallists and 1963 and 1967 European Championship silver medallists, and their coach Benedykt Krysik also received a special award.
Posthumous awards went to coach Hubert Jerzy Wagner, the man behind Poland’s 1974 World Championship title and 1976 Olympic gold for men, as well as coach Andrzej Niemczyk, who led his women’s team to a double European Championship gold in 2003 and 2005. Members of those extraordinary teams were also present at the event.
The White-and-Reds’ silver medal at the 2006 World Championship for men under Argentine coach Raul Lozano was another important stop on the virtual trip through history at the Polsat TV studios in Warsaw.
French coach Stephane Antiga, alongside star players Pawel Zagumny and Mariusz Wlazly, were decorated for their triumph in 2014, when the Polish national team topped the men’s World Championship podium.
The 2018 world champions received their awards from the hands of FIVB Vice President and CEV President Aleksandar Boricic and FIVB General Director Fabio Azevedo. Polish Volleyball Federation President Jacek Kasprzyk also received a special award.
Several Polish cities – Bydgoszcz, Gdansk, Katowice, Krakow, Lodz, Warsaw and Wroclaw – which have played hosts to major international volleyball events, received well-deserved distinctions at the gala. Major volleyball sponsors, such as Plus and ORLEN, were also honoured.