Great success of Azoty Pulawy!
Handball players of Azoty Puławy have enjoyed a successful season, as their team won the bronze medal for the first time in the history of the club. The achievement coincided with the 10th anniversary of the team’s participation in the premier league. The players and the coaches met the representatives of the general sponsor of the club on Wednesday.
From hell to heaven
At the beginning of 2014/2015 season, Azoty performed well below expectations. Despite taking on a coach from abroad, Dragan Markovic, a former coach of Bosnia and Herzegovina national team, the team was in poor shape. Following seven rounds, Azoty took the second but last place in the chart. The Board reacted fast, dismissing the Balkan coach and handing the management over to experienced Ryszard Skutnik. Skutnik had got his experience in national and international championships and lost no time in introducing his own strategy and propelling Azoty towards the top of the chart. At the end of the season, Puławy team took the sixth place and commenced play-off matches with high hopes. In the quarter-finals “Azotowcy” defeated Górnik Zabrze twice with a clear advantage, though their opponents had been expected to win. In the next round, Azoty gave in to Orlen Wisła Płock, the Vice Champion on Poland, but in the fight for the bronze medal they triumphed over Pogoń Szczecin, enjoying no fewer than four victories over the team from Zachodnipomorskie voivodeship.
– “The historic medal for Puławy came in the 10th year of our presence in the premier league. We were promoted to Ekstraklasa a decade ago and since then we have been striving to reach the top. This year’s medal has come as a cherry on the top of the anniversary” – enthused Jerzy Witaszek, the Chairman of “Azoty-Puławy” Sports Club.
40 years of Puławy team
The history of Puławy handball team goes back to the 1970′, when handball section was established in Wisła sports club. Coach Jerzy Witaszek was associated with the section since the beginning, and had great achievements with the junior team, including winning Junior Champions of Poland title. In 1994 the senior team under Witaszek was promoted to Ekstraklasa, but was then demoted to a lower league after one year only (they had 1 point too few to remain in the group). There were many talented handball players in the team at the time, including Robert Nowakowski, Grzegorz Gowin, Piotr Obrusiewicz and Piotr Prószyński. Once the team left Ekstraklasa, leading members of the team found new employers, and Puławy club was in for a few less successful years.
Grabbing the opportunity to fulfill his teenage dreams, Jerzy Witaszek decided to create a new club. Handball section in Wisła Puławy was dissolved in 2003, and a new team called Wisła-Azoty was established thanks to the sponsoring agreement with Zakłady Azotowe “Puławy” S.A. The cooperation between Our Company and the club, which has since transformed into “Azoty-Puławy”, has continued since then and has been bringing excellent results. Over the past 12 years, the team has gained a strong position in Ekstraklasa, has participated in Polish Cup tournaments (gaining bronze medal twice), and has represented Polish sport on the international arena. In the past five years, ”Azoty-Puławy” has participated in Challenge Cup games, and reached the semi-finals in 2014. In 2015, the team dropped off after losing to Benfica Lizbona, which is an internationally recognized team. Azoty players have also been drawn to the national team. Piotr Masłowski and Przemysław Krajewski as well as Michał Szyba and Piotr Wyszomirski, who used to play in Puławy team, are currently members of the Polish national team, which won the bronze medal in World Championships. Other players also participate in their respective national representations, namely Vadim Bogdanov (Russia), Vilius Rasima (Lithuania), Jan Sobol (the Czech Republic) as well as Nikola Prce and Kosta Savic (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
A Cup for the Company
16 players of Azoty-Puławy, their five coaches and Chairman of the Club Jerzy Witaszek visited Grupa Azoty Puławy on Wednesday morning. Welcomed with an enthusiastic ovation, the team was introduced to the Company representatives. The players received small gifts and presented the impressive Cup for the third place in the league to Grupa Azoty Puławy Chairman Marian Rybak. The present shows the gratitude of the team for providing good conditions which made it possible to prepare the players for the victory. A photo shoot followed the meeting.