After the long journey home, the team were greeted by Polish Volleyball Federation President Paul Papke and by numerous family members and supporters waiting for them at Warsaw airport on Tuesday evening.
“We are very, very happy and very proud of our players. It's hard to even describe in words how we feel. It is the greatest achievement in the history of our team at this level. These players have achieved huge success. Poland had never won a gold or silver medal at the World Championships, only two bronze medals,” said co-trainer Maciej Zendel.
In the history of the World Championships, the Poles have won two U19 bronzes – in 1999 in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and in 2013 in Tijuana (Mexico).
Zendel and trainer Sebastian Pawlik are the men behind the team's success. They have built a tight-knit team, who were keen to thank their coaches.
"I just want to thank our coaching team because we were very well prepared for this tournament. We wanted to win the World Championship and we deserved it,” said Poland captain Jakub Kochanowski.
That is no exaggeration. The team didn't lose a single one of its eight matches in the championship; in the 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 28-30, 25-18, 15-7) victory against hosts Argentina, the team also showed incredible fighting spirit to come back from 1-2 down.
"Firstly I want to congratulate my boys because they played very well today. We won the championship and we're really happy, even though we might not have played our best game in the final. But it was enough to win,” said coach Pawlik.
The team has gone from one success to another this year. First the team won gold at the European Championships, then at the European Olympic Youth Festival, and now it has won the the FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship.
One of the team's outstanding players this season has been Bartosz Kwolek. He was awarded the MVP prize at the European Championships.
The 18-year-old Kwolek also contributed 24 points in the final of the World Championship against Argentina.
Despite the awards, Kwolek has kept his feet on the ground: "We're really happy to have won this tournament, we prepared well and we're very happy. I want to thank our coach and my teammates, we're the best."
Kwolek is already regarded as a rising star in his home country. “Is this the new Wlazły?” was even the headline of one story. Mariusz Wlazły is one of the biggest icons in the history of Polish volleyball and led his team to the title of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship as the outstanding points scorer at last year's event in Poland. He was also crowned the competition's MVP – just as Bartosz Kwolek was at this year's showdown for the U19s.
Kwolek also hopes to play for the top teams in the Polish PlusLiga. He gained valuable experience with Spala last season, which regularly produces young talented players. Kwolek intends to keep working at his skills. “I want to develop, improve. The most important thing is to learn.” Exactly the right attitude for a player who might one day play for a world title with the Polish senior men's national team.