City report: Warsaw, Poland

June 11, 2013 at 7:50 am

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Tell us a little bit about Warsaw
Warsaw has over 1.7 million inhabitants and is the capital of Poland. Its about 720 years old.We have one subway line, new bike lanes and a new public bike rental service. :) oh and we have the biggest amount of neighbours: 7 countries are surrounding us which is a great advantage when thinking about travelling in the search of polo.

When and how did polo start here?
I am not sure of the year but some say that somewhere around 2006-7 some couriers brought the game from one of the championships from abroad. In Poland it started in Warsaw.

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How many people play in your city?
I would say we could count up to 30 players in Warsaw. Beginners have their own practice time and group.

How often do you play?
2-3 times a week during the summer season. In winter it depends if we find a spot. It may vary from once a fortnight or even once a week.

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Tell us about your courts
Courts are an issue in Warsaw. Since there are many basketball courts at school grounds but many schools close them. They are only for their use. We have tried to play on many of them but always security kicks us out saying that we make mess out of the surface with our skidding. None of the courts have lights. So playing during winter is impossible after 4pm. That is why during summer we tend to sit as much on the courts as possible. Since these courts are opened , other people with more popular sports tend to use the areas too. The court is pretty big but it doesn’t have boards surrounding it. The surface of the court is very good. It doesn’t get that slippery when wet.

We have a court at a ice hockey rink that is away from the city centre (the other court is in the city). So the surface is very very smooth. The boards are short, plastic used for roller hockey. To use the facilities you need to pay 8zl each for entry. Extra fee applies for using lights. At this court we tend to organise tournaments.
Beginners polo during night runs next to the palace of culture which is located in the city centre. There is a pavement basketball court. They play there because there are lights there.
During the end of this year we should have a bike polo adapted court. So we are really looking forward to that. http://warsawopenvol3.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/skwer/

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What have you found works to get new people playing polo in your city.
I think the beginners polo it s great way to get newbies playing. also tournaments and generally getting the word out oh and media help too.

Are there any other clubs nearby? How far away is the nearest city that plays?
Poland compared to Australia is very small so travelling to play polo between cities isn’t such a hassle. The closest polo city would be 2 hours car drive. Kraków is the second largest city in Poland where polo happens as often as it does in warsaw. But they don’t have as many players as we do.

Do you play with other clubs in your country often? If so is this for tournaments for just casual?
Yes, we catch up with other teams from other cities often but more often we tend to travel for tournament in other countries. That happens frequently.

 

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Has your city hosted any tournaments or are you hosting any soon? Please tell us about them. We have hosted many tournaments. International and national. Warsaw has had its national champs two years ago and will be hosting them this year in september. Warsaw open will have its 3rd edition at the beginning of july after the EHBPC in Krakow.  The good thing about the Warsaw Open tournament is that we get a fair bit of players from the eastern side of Europe. It seem that for them germany is just too far. Some of the countries need visas which is a bitch. We had new teams that play amazing and were at a tournament the first time. So I am happy to make this tournament to integrate bike polo players from the right side of us. Sponsoring in poland is crap so getting prizes at tournaments isn’t easy.

For more information on the warsaw open vol.3: https://www.facebook.com/events/154272001410388/?fref=ts or  http://warsawopenvol3.wordpress.com/

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Tell us a little known fact about your city
There isn’t much about our city besides it being constantly under construction. The difficult part is that you cant really do much in it. What i mean is that there isn’t much engagement in sports and new ideas and fresh blood from councils. I wish we could change that.

Media are helping out a little. Some are trying to make news about urban sport and bike polo being pretty attractive to watch are making the news quite often. but its not making sponsors appear.

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Above is a photo from a video shoot to promote our national stadium that its opened to other sport disciplines other then soccer. This stadium was built for the soccer euros that year. The video is below.

Answers by Sabrina Staniewska

Photographs by Ciuniuszka and from http://warsawopenvol3.wordpress.com/

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