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Leading the way for volleyball

Leading the way for volleyball
 

Chairman Bartek Łuszcz and squad member Tomek Lasocki talked to the Sports Gazette about the story of CBL Polonia London Volleyball Club.

When Bartek Łuszcz walked almost by accident into the volleyball court two years ago, he was surprised. He saw a bunch of people training at 8 o’clock in the evening.

He then found out that they are part of CBL Polonia London Volleyball Club, a club that has existed since 1973 when it was founded by the Polish scouts.

The club, the oldest one in the top volleyball leauge, the Super 8s, plays its home matches in Brentford, west London. Nowadays they are much more multicultural, welcoming all nationalities, Luszcz points out.

“What are these guys actually doing training at 8pm when they have family and kids? I was very impressed by their commitment and became the chairman because I wanted them to get some recognition. I wanted to help them organise the team.

“They are full time parents and employees somewhere else and without their commitment this club would not exist,” he added.

Tomek Lasocki who has been playing for Polonia for the last five years was originally a rower, as he explains “I was just not happy with waking up at 5 o’clock in the morning every day at the first half of university.

“I tried volleyball and quickly became really quite obsessed with training and playing and made lots of good friends in volleyball.”

Polonia has an official supporters club which is registered as an official association. Their home game attract between 200 to 300 fans in average

“I think right now they went through probably three or four sets of proper drum kit, they bring trumpets, they make a lot of noise and they travel with us to away matches”, said Łuszcz enthusiastically.

Another feature Polonia can pride itself on is the club’s developed social media presence which is kept up to date by Łuszcz himself. “We are an amateur club but we try to at least aspire to be professional.

“I look up to my fans, we have fans all around world including in Poland and Canada,” he emphasised.

“I started quite late on, only when I was 19, but I’ve been playing for 8 years and since moved from university level to the national league with Polonia, “ he recalled.

The club itself is quite organised and one of the only volleyball clubs in England to have a main sponsor. “For 38 years Polonia was funded by subs from players and in fact most of the teams in England currently are funded like that. This makes Polonia the only volleyball in England whose players don’t pay subs to travel to matches,” says Łuszcz.

Volleyball in England is far from being developed. “It is not one of the traditional English sports so it is quite difficult for it to break through,” explained Lasocki.

“I think Polonia always competed at the highest level in this country. Moving forward hopefully we will start moving toward a more professional setup. At the moment we have a lot of amateur and ex-professional players.”

When asked about the future of volleyball, Lasocki said: “There are many nationalities in London and there are huge opportunities all around the country. More and more clubs are starting to play and there is potential to hold international competitions here.

The Sport Gazette promises to check on Polonia later on in the upcoming year, watch this space.

* This piece was written for and published on the Sports Gazette on November 19th 2014
** Article photo courtesy of the Polonia London VC Facebook page

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