Piotr Sliwka is a striking example of how family genes carry through in the making of new sporting stars, as he helps Poland in their quest for excellence at the 2021 FIVB Boys' U19 World Championship which peaks over the next two days in Tehran.
Piotr Sliwka keeps family tradition strong as Poland shine at Boys' U19 Worlds
In the footsteps of his now well-established brother, the 18-year old keeps his side going
Published 06:59, 31 Aug 2021
The 18-year-old outide hitter has been instrumental in Poland's run into the quarterfinals of the competition as he follows in the footsteps of his now famous brother, Aleksander, eight years his senior.
Aleksander, 26, is a stalwart of Poland's senior National Team - already a world champion in 2018 and an Olympian at Tokyo 2020.
"My family has helped me a lot," said Piotr after Poland beat Colombia in the quarterfinals of the Boys' U19 World Championship in Tehran. "My brother and we play very often against each other at home and he really helps me."
Their two sisters are also volleyball players - though not professionally - and their father also used to be a volleyball player.
For now, Piotr's main goal is improving his skills as he aims high.
"I would like to improve and go as high as it possible," he said. "I would like to turn professional to play for the senior volleyball team of Poland."
Piotr's role model, meanwhile, comes from way back.
"My idol is Michal Ruciak," he says, referring to the outside hitter (later turned libero) who helped Poland lift the trophy at the 2009 European Championship - amongst many other successes.
But for the time being Piotr is taking all in his stride and enjoying every moment of the new experience of a world competition in the Iranian capital.
"This is my first time out of Europe and the event is a very good point of departure for us all." he says.