Polonia volleyball team take second place in UK match

Grzegorz Michałowski

A Polonia volleyball team in the UK consisting of couriers, technicians, goldsmiths and bankers, has come second place in the English National Cup.

The team of amateurs calling itself IBB Polonia London went through to the finals against Team Northumbria at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering, Northamptonshire.

The Polish club won the two previous seasons’ titles.

Despite the loss, the team’s trainer Piotr Graban said: For me personally, what the team have managed to achieve together during the whole season is like winning the world championships and I consider it a success.

“I’m proud of them, because they all did a huge amount of work. We all left our hearts on the court.”

Club president Bartek Łuszcz said: “This year we’ve focused mostly on the business aspects and in this area we’ve achieved huge success.

“As pioneers in sports marketing in English volleyball, we’re trying to popularise the discipline. Our matches were transmitted by top sports TV channels, we issued shares in the club, we gained sponsors for individual matches, and that confirms that day by day we’re getting closer to achieving our stated goals.”

But team captain said the team needed to do more.

He said: “It’s frustrating because for the last two years we’ve gone home with gold.

“The start of Saturday’s meet was a particular shame as we could have tipped it in our favour. We had our chances but we just didn’t make use of them. These finals are a good lesson and a motivation for us to regain gold next year.”

IBB Polonia London was founded in 1973 by Polish members of the YMCA and is currently run by the Polish community in London, although the team features players from other countries. They have become something of a phenomenon in the semi-professional English league with most players supporting themselves with full-time work.