Maciej Rudol & Piotr Kantor

Maciej Rudol & Piotr Kantor

Piotr Kantor and Maciej Rudol are one of the new Polish pairings training for the new beach volleyball season. The two players know each other well, know the strengths and weaknesses of their tandem and will rely on flexibility in positioning to find their way into the elite level on the new Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour.

Their team was formed within the framework of a big reshuffle in Poland, caused by the retirement of Grzegorz Fijalek and the start of a new Olympic cycle. Kantor’s partner since the start of his international career, Bartosz Losiak, has joined forces with Fijalek’s former teammate, Michal Bryl, while national coaches have decided to match the 2.00m-tall blocker with another tall athlete, Maciej Rudol, who measures in at 1.96 m.

“It was the decision of our coaches, but a decision we accepted very optimistically,” 28-year-old Rudol told Volleyball World. “We have known each other for a long time, mostly from the Polish national team, and it was the best solution for us for the future.

“For me, it's exciting to create a team with Piotrek. We are both tall and universal players, so we will have a lot of flexibility in our style of defending and blocking. I look forward to seeing how it will work out on the court.”

“Maciek and I have known each other long enough to know what our strengths and weaknesses are,” 29-year-old Kantor confirmed. “So we are well aware of what to work on to make our level go up. We had the opportunity to play together once and we felt good.”

Both Piotr and Maciej have been going through some medical problems, but they started practising together at the beginning of last week.

“We both had to take care of ourselves and deal with the problems we had in the 2021 season, and now we slowly return to training on the sand,” Kantor said.

“I started working on the sand, slowly coming back after ACL reconstruction. So our first plans are to take care of our health and to be fully recovered from any injuries, and in the mean time to teach each other how to play together,” said Rudol. “We are working on our setting, communication and style of play. Our main short-term goals are related to the first tournaments coming up, but it depends on how my rehabilitation will go.”

The Polish pairs have not registered for any stops on the Beach Pro Tour yet, but hope to appear on the Mexican sand as soon as the new Tour begins in the second half of March.


Piotr Kantor at Tokyo 2020

Piotr Kantor is the more decorated of the two. He and his previous long-term partner Bartosz Losiak are currently the number three team in the FIVB World Ranking. In their youth, they won three world and four continental titles in various age categories. Their most recent success was the bronze medal they claimed at the 2021 CEV European Championship. Kantor and Losiak’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour record includes three gold, six silver and six bronze medals. They qualified for the last two editions of the Olympic Games and appeared at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

Maciej Rudol also topped a world podium in his youth. He and Maciej Kosiak took the gold at the 2014 U23 World Championship at home in Myslowice, a year after they had claimed the U21 silver in Umag. They also took two bronze medals at age-category continental championships. With his last long-term partner, Jakub Szalankiewicz, Rudol claimed a gold and a bronze on the World Tour, to which he added a silver alongside Jakub Nowak.

Maciej Rudol in action at a Cancun 4-star tournament in 2021

Maciej Rudol in action at a Cancun 4-star tournament in 2021

Unlike Kantor, Rudol has yet to make it to his first Olympics. Both teammates are now aiming at Paris 2024.

“If we are talking about long-term plans, qualification to the Olympic Games in Paris is our goal, and that is why we have joined forces,” Rudol said.

“When we started talking about our team, we had the same view on our main goal. It's Paris 2024 and step by step we will move in that direction I believe,” Kantor confirmed.