Bartosz Kurek rejoins Poland and leads the team as captain in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup
Fukuoka, Japan, October 6, 2019 – After taking a break following Poland's title at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, when he also collected the tournament's Most Valuable Player award, opposite hitter Bartosz Kurek has returned to lead his country at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup as its captain.Youtube
As captain, he has helped his teammates claim four victories in five matches in Fukuoka and has as endorsed a bigger role, not just as the team’s go-to hitter, but also as its leader. However, he remains unfazed by the challenges and puts his trust in a talented roster of players and his coach Vital Heynen.
“I don’t have that many challenges apart from taking care of the really important tasks,” Kurek said. “The captain should set an example for the rest of the group. I don’t like to talk to the guys a lot and I just let my behaviour and performance do the talking.
“I have to try to be correct with everything. I am the connection between the team and the coach. So every question the team has and every doubt the coach has, I try to help get these things resolved. Overall it’s a nice job to work with such a great group of guys and such an intelligent coach.”
Poland’s current roster in the World Cup has a good mix of veterans and young players, and a great big ally in powerhouse hitter Wilfredo Leon. And in their current condition, Kurek believes that there is still room for improvement.
“It’s nice to have this team,” he said. “We’ve already won something big last year – the World Championship - and the group has good connection and good camaraderie in and out of the court.
“Of course each year brings in new players and new additions. This year we had this challenge to add a player, in my opinion the best player right now in the world – Leon. He’s a big weapon and he’s become a strong part of our game, but it also takes time to play together. I think we will get better with time.”
Since returning to active duty for Poland, Kurek has kept that winning mentality. His current role, however, gives him more freedom to gauge his own level of performance.
“We came here to win every game,” Kurek stated. “That mentality doesn’t change after that tough loss against the United States. We will always go out there to win the next game.
“For me, personally, I want to see where I’m at. I was out for almost six months of official playing, so I need some rhythm. I think this is a big stage for a tryout, but this is one of the most difficult tournaments in the world.
“I don’t want to give any excuses but for sure I would prefer to prepare better for this. This is a measuring stick for me. So let’s see where I’m at right now, but for sure expect better games from us.”