Martyna Czyrnianska is one of Poland’s young hopefuls at the FIVB Volleyball U20 Women’s World Championship in Kortrijk. At the age of 17, the talented outside hitter has already established herself as one of the leading players on the U20 squad. She has already made her debut with the senior national team of Poland, and has signed her first professional contract with a top-level Champions League club.

Poland finished the first stage of the World Championship as runners-up to Italy in Pool D on a 2-1 win-loss record and are set to continue their quest for medals among the top eight teams of the tournament. Czyrnianska was the best scorer in her team’s opening match against Belarus, contributing 21 points towards the three-set win. She was the team’s second best scorer in the four-set loss to Italy and in the straight-set victory over Egypt.

“For us, every match is important and we want to win it. We want to be a better team. That’s all!” Martyna Czyrnianska told Volleyball World about her team’s goals at the championship. “I am feeling really good here, because it’s a big tournament. Everybody who can take part in this tournament is happy. It’s normal for the athletes.”

Martyna Czyrnianska spikes past Egypt’s block

Martyna Czyrnianska spikes past Egypt’s block

Martyna’s parents are not volleyballers, but all three of their children - Martyna, her older sister and her older brother - play the sport.

“My sister was the first in the family to start playing volleyball. My mom took me to one of her practices once and I thought it was a really beautiful sport and I wanted to be part of it. It’s a team sport where I can meet nice people,” the 1.91m-tall outside said.

Before joining the U20 team for the World Championship, Czyrnianska was part of Poland’s women’s squad for the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, where she made her debut for the senior national team.

“It was really exciting! I was so happy that my teammates really supported me and I could show what I can really do,” she said. “It was really stressful at first, but in general it was an amazing feeling to be able to play in the VNL and to represent my nation, my country…”

In another exciting recent development, the talented hopeful signed her first professional club contract and as of the upcoming season she will play for one of Poland’s representatives in the pool stage of the CEV Champions League, Grupa Azoty Chemik Police. However, that’s not on the top of her mind right now.

“I don’t think about it now, because now the most important thing is this tournament,” she said. “Later on, we will see…”

Czyrnianska finds it fascinating that even now, at her young age, people recognize her in the street.

“It’s amazing when people I meet in the street know me. My biggest dream is to achieve an Olympic gold medal and to be the best, so that everybody knows me,” she said. “What motivates me to work hard in every training is my desire to be the best in the world. We live in a small remote village and I want to show my parents that it was worth taking their time to drive me to practice every day.”