Lodz, Poland, June 2, 2019 - While the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is staging its 25th women’s event on the 2018-2019 international calendar, Poland’s Kinga Wojtasik is taking the weekend off to celebrate her 29th birthday here Sunday before resuming play in mid-June for an event on home sand.
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Wojtasik and Katarzyna Kociolek will be the featured women's Polish team when the FIVB World Tour visits Warsaw for the second-straight year from June 12-16 for the final international beach volleyball event before the 2019 FIVB World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.
Since her first event in 2007 when she had just turned 17 through her last World Tour appearance last weekend in China, Wojtasik ranks second in career FIVB appearances among Polish women’s player highlighted by an appearance in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where she placed ninth with Monika Brzostek.
While Wojtasik states that her bronze medal finish in August 2015 on home sand in Olsztyn with Brzostek was her most memorable beach volleyball moment, she lists the Rio experience second as she said “playing on Copacabana in a city so closely tied to our sport was a dream come true.”
As for the Olsztyn podium placement, Wojtasik said “it was the first medal at the World Tour. Standing on the podium in front of your own crowd is the best feeling you can imagine. It is fantastic to be able to celebrate together with your family and friends.
With the 2019 FIVB World Championships looming, Wojtasik and her current partner Katarzyna Kociolek are listed provisionally as the 20th-seeded team and will learn their pool assignment Tuesday following the drawing of lots Tuesday in Hamburg for the June 28-July 7 event.Katarzyna Kociolek (left) and Kinga Wojtasik celebrate an October 2017 FIVB World Tour podium placement at Qinzhou, China.
“The most important goal for our team is to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics,” said Wojtasik, who placed ninth and 17th with Brzostek at the 2013 and 2015 FIVB World Championships in Poland and the Netherlands, respectively. “That is the main goal and we will do whatever we can to get there!”
Brzostek (92 events) and Wojtasik (91) rank 1-2 among women’s players from Poland in FIVB appearances as Kinga’s former partner broke the tie as Monika was playing this weekend in China with Aleksandra Wachowicz as the pair placed fifth in Nantong. In addition to their August 2015 bronze medal together in Olsztyn, Brzostek and Wojtasik placed second at the Rio Olympic preview event in March 2016 after losing the finale to Americans April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings.
Monika Brzostek (left) and Kinga Wojtasik celebrate a silver medal at a 2016 FIVB World Tour event in Rio de Janeiro
With a weekend off, Wojtasik also answered questions about her start in Volleyball as she and former FIVB World Tour participant Damien Wojtasik were married last September. “Right now, the focus is on the World Championships and qualifying for the Olympics,” and Kinga Wojtasik. “My husband and I want a bigger family and I think that a bunch of kids will do a great job of keeping me busy after my career is over and will not let me get bored [laughs].”
Question - Who was the person responsible for getting you started playing beach volleyball?
Kinga - “I started playing beach volleyball thanks to my parents. They were both athletes – my dad played volleyball and mom was a basketball player. It was decided long before that both my sister and I would get into some sport. First it was indoor volleyball and in my senior year of high school I decided to play only beach volleyball.”
Question - What and why was the reason you started playing beach volleyball?
Kinga - “Even as a little girl I watched beach volleyball on TV. At that time, I did not even dream that in a few years I would be taking part in those kinds of tournaments myself. But I liked watching it a lot. Even now I wonder how I ended up “on the beach”, because neither my club in Lublin, nor the whole voivodship had any beach volleyball traditions and no one from here had played on the national team before. We did practice on sand in the summer and I really liked this variation of volleyball, but that was more fun and games than serious playing. Then as seasons passed, I started being more and more successful and I was gone – for years [laughs].”
Question - When and where did you start playing beach volleyball?
Kinga - “In junior high I started taking part in more beach volleyball tournaments. I was in one team with my sister Dominika and we would spend summer vacations with our parents at the Polish sea. We played a lot of tournaments there and at one of them, in Pobierowo, I was spotted by the national team coach. Then everything happened fast. At first, I trained both indoor and beach volley and in my senior year I moved to Lodz, to focus just on the beach volleyball.”