Long Beach, Calif., August 22, 2015 - Over the past few seasons on the continental and international Beach Volleyball circuits, the development and accomplishments of the Polish men’s teams have created headlines with London 2012 Olympians Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel the featured pair.
While Fijalek and Prudel have been the most successful Polish team in terms of medals on the FIVB World Tour, two other teams have made their mark in the youth and junior world championships as the teams Michal Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz and Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak have combined for five age group gold medals.
Now, a women’s team from the European country is making an impression internationally after the Polish pair of Monika Brzostek and Kinga Kolosinska netted a bronze medal at the continental championships two weeks ago in Klagenfurt, Austria. It was the first-ever podium placement for a women’s team from Poland at a “senior” international event.
“That was special,” said the 26-year old Brzostek. “Once we advanced to the quarter-finals in Klagenfurt, we felt that we had to take advantage of that opportunity to medal. We felt confident after we defeated an experienced Germany team in pool play (Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler).”
The Polish pair have had the “taste” of winning a gold medal when Brzostek and Kolosinska teamed to top the podium at the 2009 FIVB under-21 world championships in Blackpool, England. But the effort was overshadowed by Kadziola and Szalankiewicz netting their second junior world championship the same day by defeating an upcoming Brazilian pair of Vitor Felipe and Alvaro Filho for the gold medal.
With this week’s ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball event their 44th FIVB World Tour event together, the Polish ladies are eager to “do well, but we are looking forward to returning home to host the world’s best players next week in Olsztyn,” said the 25-year Kolosinska.
After hosting the FIVB World Tour for 11-straight seasons in Stare Jablonki, the event will remain in the Mazury region of Poland. “Olsztyn is a bigger city and will offer a new experience for the players,” said Brzostek. “Everyone loved Stare Jablonki, but this year I think the players will really enjoy playing in Olsztyn.”
Stare Jablonki, which hosted the FIVB “senior” World Championships in 2013 where the aforementioned Alvaro placed second with legendary Ricardo Santos, was a small village. “This year, we’ll actually have a downtown where the players can shop and visit,” said Brzostek. “It will definitely have a different feel that playing in Stare Jablonki”
Prior to returning Poland for the Olsztyn, the fifth and final FIVB World Tour Grand Slam event in 2015, Brzostek and Kolosinska placed ninth at this week’s ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball. With an $11,000 pay day, both players are having their best season on the international circuit as Brzostek starting playing in FIVB events in 2006 and Kolosinska began in 2007.
Brzostek and Kolosinska are currently the 17th-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour. More importantly, the pair entered the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball as the No. 13-ranked pair on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games provisional listing.
For 2015, Brzostek and Kolosinska have already exceeded their best FIVB match win total for a season as the pair has a 50.0 winning percentage with a 22-22 record this season for nine events. In 2013, the pair posted a 15-20 match mark in 10 FIVB World Tour events followed by a 20-25 record for 10 international starts in 2014.