Michal Bryl and Grzegorz Fijalek will have more reason than most to be itching to return to action on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
After three seasons together the Polish pair had finally made the breakthrough to the top of the winners’ podium. They claimed gold at the Doha 4-Star in March, but within weeks the sporting world was put on hold as the coronavirus took hold.
They had impressed in Qatar’s capital and beat Mexico’s Josue Gaxiola and Jose Rubio 2-1 (16-21, 21-19, 15-11) in the gold medal match, having defeated Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo, and Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins earlier in the tournament.
“For us it wasn’t the best game of this tournament, but we are very, very, happy,” Fijalek said. “We started very nervously, but we expected that as they are young boys and have great rhythm and played well this week.
“But we are very, very happy as it is our first tournament win and I hope we keep our shape in the next tournament.”
Since lockdown rules eased Bryl, 24, has been playing on the Polish Tour with Mikolaj Miszczuk, while Fijalek, 33, has used the break to undergo shoulder surgery.
They have been together since the start of 2017 and competed together for the first time at the Fort Lauderdale 4-Star where they reached the quarterfinals.
After finding their feet in 2017 they began winning medals in 2018, though frustratingly they were all silver, at the Hamburg 2018 FIVB World Tour Finals, the Vienna 5-Star and Las Vegas 4-Star.
They continued their run in 2019 with silver at the Itapema 4-Star and 2019 Prague 4-Star, and carried their form into 2020 where as well as gold in Doha they stand third in the provisional FIVB Olympic Rankings and en route for their first Olympic Games together at Tokyo 2020.
For now, their ambitions are on hold, but having enjoyed their first taste of success, they are determined to enjoy some more.
“We didn’t know how the season will turn out,” Bryl said prophetically after victory in Doha. “We enjoyed this tournament. It is the best feeling in the world to win a tournament.”
Look out for career highlights featuring Michal Bryl and Grzegorz Fijalek across the Beach Volleyball World platforms as we celebrate our Team of the Week.
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020