Top scorer Mariusz Wlazly led his team to victory at the 2014 FIVB Men's World Championship
Lausanne, Switzerland, October 22, 2014 - With the benefit of hindsight, it is now clear just how important Mariusz Wlazly’s return from injury ahead of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship was. His contribution to his team’s World Championship success was recognised when he received the Best Opposite and Most Valuable Player awards from the hands of FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F°.
As the top scorer in the tournament with 233 points, Wlazly was a key component of the Poland team which jumped the many hurdles on the way to winning the World Championship and defeating defending world champions Brazil in the competition's final. Former Polish player Pawel Papke’s saying that “Whoever has Wlazly – wins” rings even more true after Poland’s victorious campaign. Wlazly had already helped Poland to silver medals in 2006, when his team lost out to Brazil in the final in Tokyo, Japan, but this time his team went one step further to claim a second World Championship title, following the competition Poland won in 1976.
Mariusz Wlazly was born on August 4, 1983 in Wielun, Poland. International honours came early when Wlazly won the 2003 Men's U21 World Championship, which was hosted by Iran. He joined PGE Skra Belchatow in the same year, winning eight Polish PlusLiga golds with the club since, and made his senior national team debut two years later.
Before the huge success at this year's FIVB Men's World Championship, his best moment with the national team came in 2006, during the World Championship in Japan. Poland finished the tournament with the silver medal and Wlazly was one of three candidates for the tournament's MVP title. Eight years ago, he lost out to Brazilian star Giba, just like his team lost to the Canarinhos in the final match 0-3. Things were different this September when Wlazly led the White-Reds to victory over Brazil 3-1 and took the tournament's MVP and best opposite titles.
Between 2011 and 2014, Wlazly was often absent from the national team through injury, but when newly-appointed coach Stephane Antiga's came calling ahead of the World Championship in Poland, he was eager to demonstrate that he was still one of the best players in the world.
In his everyday life, Wlazly is passionate about three things: his family (he and his wife, Paulina - also a former volleyball player - have a 5-year-old son, Arkadiusz), charity work and... photography. Some friends call him “Szampon” (eng. “Shampoo”), because allegedly during a training camp with his first club WKS Wielun, as a challenge, he drank some shampoo.
On the court, however, Wlazly is recognised for one thing in particular. His attacking skills.