Thursday, July 10, 2008
The Polish Olympic Committee (PKOL) announced today the list of 258 sportsmen drafted to represent Poland at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The number of olympians may increase by 10, as the Committee has given a number of athletes a final chance to qualify, including Lidia Chojecka and Ma?gorzata Tryba?ska. There are 101 women and 157 men on the team.
The 28-year-old canoer Marek Twardowski has been chosen for the national flag bearer. “There was, of course, a discussion. We rejected the candidacy of Otylia J?drzejczak, because she starts her Olympics on August 9, the same situation was with Leszek Blanik. We needed a titled sportsman for whom the function of flag bearer will not interrupt preparations. Marek starts on August 19, he won 20 World Championships and European Championships medals and he’s a cool guy”, said Kajetan Broniewski, the chief of the Polish Olympic Mission.
The Committee spent over PLN186 million (almost US$90 million) on preparations for the Olympics in last four years, with PLN73 million of it spent this year alone. “With such a big team, we should improve the results from Athens and win over 10 medals”, said the PKOL president Piotr Nurowski.
When asked about the protests over China’s violation of human rights in Tibet, Nurowski said: “Demonstrating one’s political views at the venues as well as in the Olympic Village is forbidden. It is a violation of the Olympic Oath. It means that the IOC may even expel one from the Village and take away the medals. I have talked a lot about it with our sportsmen. They have answered that politics is not interesting for them in Beijing. They are concentrating on sports.”
The players on the men’s and women’s volleyball teams, as well as the men’s handball team are still not known. The teams’ coaches Raul Lozano, Marco Bonitta and Bogdan Wenta have until July 19 to announce their rosters.
Overall, the team, including the medical staff, coaches, psychologists and others, will number over 400 people.