The Polish ace had to wait 29 years for this.  Unusual appearance in the European Championship.  Bartosz Bednorz replies

Artur Jacques, Intrea: It’s hard to talk about the victory itself, but what’s worth emphasizing is that you had an opportunity from Nikola Grbic. I played almost cover to cover and that match definitely gave you a lot of what a player needs in a tournament like this.

Bartosz Bidnorz, host of the Polish national team: – First of all, I’m glad I got to play some volleyball. This is something every gamer needs. I’m ready for any role, but it’s been known that the desire to play and spend time on the field is always there. However, I’m happy with my debut, because it’s my first European Championship and my first appearance in an event of this caliber. So I’m glad it turned out that way.

The purpose of this meeting was clear. And by what means?

– We had to play with our heads first, because games like this are simply the hardest. It’s hard to stay focused from start to finish, and it’s easy to get out of tune. But I think we kept calm and played really well. In addition, it’s good that we played in front of the crowd, which was mostly against us, but we also had our fans, whom I want to thank for their support. In any case, it is always better when we have a full hall, even if the majority is against us. This builds the tension we need. We play for the fans and the fans come for us.

At first, it was probably no accident that you used the phrase that it was fine to play volleyball that evening, because you could actually play a game on your own terms with an opponent of this class – with all due respect to the bravery of the Macedonians.

– That’s it. The thing about the European Championships is that many teams participate in it. Of course, with all due respect, there are teams weaker than us in every aspect. However, matches like this are really tough because it’s hard to keep focus at the top level. If we play with the best, you don’t have to worry because everyone knows they are 100 percent focused and know what they have to do. Here, in clashes like this, we get the focus in our heads, but it’s easier to lose it as the game progresses.

Would you say that moment in the second set, when the opponents got to 19:19 and Nikola Grbic responded with a time-out, was a result of relaxation?

– I think so. We talked about not getting to such a match where we play point by point. But I think we put in a great show. Personally, I think we controlled the game from start to finish. Even if we played point by point, we knew we were simply stronger and a little concentration was enough to tip the scales in our favour. And so it happened.

The challenge in a tournament like this is to be ready for the most important matches, which is what you strive for during the training camps. And what are your feelings today when you are also being watched constantly? The entire detailed plan follows a predetermined path?

– Yes, everything is going in the best direction. Before the tournament, we had a very difficult training camp in Zakopane, which is why we played Memorial with a heavy load on our legs. The most important thing is that at that time there were no injuries that were too big, but of course there was an overload, because the body also has its limits. But we made it to the tournament unscathed and are still in training that should prepare us for this final. For example, on the day of the match against Macedonia, we did a lot of training in the morning, which is not normal, but everyone knows that this is the right time to do such exercises, even though we played a match. ahead in the evening. As you can see, absolutely nothing stopped us, which just goes to show that everything was very cleverly planned. We try our best to reach the highest level keeping in mind the toughest matches.

There is something else, in your words, which is not normal. After all, I’ve been talking to a top-tier player for so many years, and I’m already greeting the ‘thirty’, who are now making their debut in the Old Continent Championship. Is it an unusual experience?

Yes, it is, but let’s look at it more broadly. When I was 28, I won the Champions League and played for the best clubs in the world before, but it didn’t work out. However, I am very happy that I did it with the Polish club, with my good teammates and colleagues. As you can see, I had to wait for that too. And now, at the age of 29, I am participating in the European Championship for the first time. If someone asks me if I’m nervous, I say absolutely not. I’m already at this point in my career where it’s hard for anything to hit my head or break me. I think I’m well prepared for whatever might happen. I’m glad this opportunity just came and went the way it did. I played well, and I also appreciate that none of my team-mates got hurt, because in games like this – when the focus sometimes goes off – it can always be different.

Interviewed by Artur Jacques, Scooby

Bartosz Bednorz/Pyotr Matosevic/East News

Polish volleyball players/ materials

Bartosz Bednorz – Best behavior in the Poland-North Macedonia match. video/Polsat Sport/Polsat Sport

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