Keeping Score: July 2009

Another month has passed. The summer has now properly started and some major sporting events are about to kick off, with great expectations for Polish participants.

The world’s largest and most prestigious tennis tournament – on the “holy grass” in the south London suburb of Wimbledon – is with us. For Poland, Agnieszka and Ula Radwańska and Marta Domachowska will participate in the ladies’ singles. Domachowska was drawn against the number 20 seeded Anabel Garriques from Spain. Should she pass that hurdle, it’s possible for her to meet Caroline Wozniacki in the third round. Although this number nine seeded player is Danish, both parents are from Poland.

Agnieszka Radwańska is Poland’s top ace for the tournament. Her number 11 seeding makes her an outsider for the title and on paper her first serious opponent of any proportion is Serb Jelena Janković in the fourth round. In the first round however, Radwańska drew Maria Sanchez from Spain. The younger Radwańska sister, Ula, drew Slovakian Masa Peskirić. In the ladies’ doubles the Radwańska sisters are joined by another Polish couple: Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska.

Another Pole that has a chance to rise to great heights is Sylwester Szmyd. As Poland’s top cyclist and participant in this year’s Tour de France, he won a stage to Mont Ventoux in the Dauphine Libere, which is being considered a mini-Tour de France, in preparation for the real one. Coincidentally, Mont Ventoux – considered a very difficult climb due to its length and the lack of oxygen in the higher regions – also happens to be the finish of the second to last stage of the 2009 Tour, after which the riders will go to Paris for the traditional final stage on the Champs Elysée.

In Formula One, Robert Kubica managed to score his first two points of the season in the Turkish Grand Prix, but failed to repeat that performance two weeks later in the British Grand Prix, where Sebastian Vettel dominated and won the race. He closed in on championship leader Jenson Button, who only finished in sixth in his home Grand Prix. However, the talk of the paddock is not about the remarkable performances of the new teams and drivers, but how to save the unity within Formula One and subsequently the sport itself (see main article).

Budowlanych Łódź have taken their fourth Polish rugby title, after beating Arka Gdynia in the national rugby final with a score of 28-23. Not quite taking the title, yet returning to Poland with a satisfying result, are the basketball women of Poland, who ended Eurobasket 2009 in 11th, which is one place better than two years ago. Poland started the tournament with a loss against Latvia (86 – 52), but turned a cliffhanger against Greece to their advantage (62 – 60) and advanced to the next group stage after defeating Hungary (60 – 53). That meant they’d met the target of reaching the first 12. Unfortunately, in the second group stage Poland lost all but one game and finished at the bottom of the group. The title in the end was won by France.

Finally football: transfer rumours are flying around across Europe and great interest has been shown towards Wisła Kraków and the Polish Ekstraklasa top scorer Paweł Brożek. One person not yet leaving his post is Jerzy Dudek. Manchester United has posted Real Madrid’s goalie Iker Casillas’ profile on their website, sparking rumours about a transfer of the Spaniard. With a possible departure, substitute goalie Dudek might seize the opportunity and fight for his chances in Madrid to become first pick, despite rumours of a return to his old club Feynoord Rotterdam. Not going anywhere for a while was Lech Poznań striker Renfigo, who played a World Cup qualifying match with his native Peru against Colombia. The squad of Peru left Colombia, but “forgot” to take along the unfortunate attacker. Don’t forget to check next month’s sports diary in this newspaper, or check for more frequent sport updates.

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