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19/07/2019 09:00
Next Polish generation shines bright in Sofia
2019 CEV U17 Volleyball European Championship - Men

Sofia, Bulgaria, July 19, 2019. The next generation of players from the Volleyland astonishes the fans in Sofia with an impressive game and great character on the court. The winners of Pool II aim high and hope to bring home a medal from the CEV U17 Men’s European Championship.

The young Polish Eagles didn't start their #EuroVolleyU17M campaign in a perfect way, suffering a defeat from the defending champions - Italy in the opening match. Then, they have refined their game winning all of the remaining matches in their pool. However, the team led by coach Ariel Fijol were not able to avoid some difficulties losing single sets in matchups with Portugal and Greece, while earning straight-set wins against stronger rivals - such as Russia and Czech Republic.

"We have a team which needs real emotions, so if our opponent can't provide it, we create it by ourselves," trifled the head coach of Poland. "This is how you make a team - during the tournaments. The team spirit and family atmosphere are visible in tough moments. We can play with a variety of combinations. We have been preparing for this event for two years, we wanted every guy to play a role at the #EuroVolleyU17M and they all do an amazing job, thus they deserve a medal," praised his players Fijol.

 

The Poles amazed the fans in Sofia with their enthusiasm and will to fight and all could see that the Polish players feels great being a part of this team. "The team spirit is our strength, we are like a family. Everyone on the court has equal importance, we always support each other on and off the court," said captain Jakub Olszewski. Michal Kubiak, the charismatic captain of the 2018 world champions, is Olszewski’s role model: “He is my idol, he always works with his whole heart and shows his amazing character on the court. Being a team captain is a huge honour for me I always try to fulfill my duties as best as I can.”

 


Jakub Olszewski (in the middle) - captain of Poland

The 16-year-old outside hitter admits that Volleyball was always closest to his heart and he along with his colleagues hopes to be the driving force of Polish Volleyball in the future.  “I think that this is the most difficult team sport, because you have to learn how to receive, attack, block and serve. And these emotions are not possible to compare with any other thing. We have the best Volleyball in the world and it's this charm. We have the best fans in the world and it's a dream of all of us to play in one of the biggest venues in Poland for the senior national team in front of 10k white-and-red fans.”

While looking at the Polish roster, one name seems to be familiar – Sliwka. Present in the White-and-Reds line-up, the 16-year-old Piotr Sliwka is the younger brother of Aleksander, a member of the gold medal winning squad from the 2018 FIVB World Championship. "I took up Volleyball very early, having a chance to train and learn with older boys as I am from a small town. I didn't choose this sport, because of my brother, it was my independent decision," he explained. "My brother always supports me, he follows closely my performances and gives me advices and suggestions," added Sliwka. Currently he plays at the same position (outside hitter) as Aleksander. "Earlier, I played as a setter, but I got bored... I also wanted to be involved in attack and reception and just do more on the court. However, still my idol is the former setter of the Poland national team - Pawel Zagumny."


Piotr Sliwka in action during the game between Poland and Czech Republic - The resemblance to his elder brother Aleksander is quite obvious...

Now, the squad of 16-year-olds Poles (all players were born in 2003) has one dream and they want to make it come true.  "We are focused on our goal, we all dream about the #EuroVolleyU17M medal," emphasises Sliwka. "We came to Bulgaria to be on the podium," added Olszewski. On Saturday, Poland face hosts Bulgaria in the semifinal of the event held in the Bulgarian capital.

 

Click here for further information.

 



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