Academic Sports Association


Academic Sports Association

Academic Sports Association (Polish: "Akademicki Zwiàzek Sportowy", "AZS") is a mass students’ sport organization, one of the biggest sports associations in Poland. Its main objectives are development of physical education, promotion of healthy lifestyle and physical activities among Polish youth.

Currently, AZS has around 50 000 members, students of around 200 colleges across Poland. Students, associated with the organization, can practice various kinds of sports as amateurs and as professionals. AZS sportspersons make up around 25% of members of Polish national teams, they are represented in all major sports events across the world, including the Olympic Games.

History

Early days

Akademicki Zwiàzek Sportowy was founded on May 15, 1909, during a meeting of students, which took place in Collegium Novum of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. A student of medicine of the Jagiellonian University, Waclaw Majewski, became first director of the association.

In the Second Polish Republic, AZS quickly developed into a mass organization, present in all Polish major urban areas. Number of it branches grew, and by 1939, there were seven of them:
* since 1918 in Warsaw,
* since 1919 in Poznan,
* since 1921 in Wilno and Gdansk,
* since 1922 in Lwow and Lublin.

In the 1930s, the AZS had around 3 000 members, may of whom were renowned on the international stage. Among most famous AZS’s sportspersons of the interbellum period, there were Halina Konopacka, Roger Verey, Jerzy Ustupski, Wladyslaw Segda and Adam Papee. Most popular sports, practiced by members of the organization, were tourism, rowing, track and field, tennis, fencing and skiing. Quick growth of the organization made it necessary to create central office of the AZS, which would coordinate activities of all local branches. It was created on March 18-19 1923 in Warsaw, during a meeting of all representatives. First director of the central office was Stefan Grodzki.

After World War II

As soon as the war was over, AZS recreated its activities, and its main office was moved to Krakow. New branches were opened in all academic centers of Poland. In 1945, AZS became active in colleges and universities in Katowice, Lodz, Gliwice, Wroclaw and Czestochowa. Next branches were opened almost every year:
* 1946 - Torun, Szczecin,
* 1949 Zabrze-Rokitnica,
* 1950- Olsztyn, Bialystok,
* 1955 - Opole,
* 1963 - Rzeszow,
* 1965 - Bydgoszcz,
* 1966 - Zielona Gora,
* 1968 - Koszalin,
* 1969 - Kielce, Plock, Radom, Siedlce, Slupsk,
*1970s - Bielsko-Biala, Gorzow Wielkopolski, Cieszyn.

Currently

Academic Sports Association is currently the most popular students organization in Poland. According to its official webpage, it has 318 clubs, active at almost all Polish colleges and universities, both private and public. It must be noted that at one school, there can be only one AZS organization. As for September 30, 2007, it had more than 50 000 members. Its sportspeople have won numerous medals during the biggest sporting events in the world, including the Olympic Games. It has three sports centers - in Wilkasy, in Gorki Zachodnie near Gdansk and in Zieleniec. It carries out activities in almost all kinds of sports.

Clubs

Sports teams, affiliated with AZS, are numerous in top Polish leagues in such sports as volleyball and basketball.Currently, in the Polish Volleyball League, there are:
* Mlekpol AZS Olsztyn
* AZS Czestochowa
* AZS Politechnika Warszawa
*AZS Resovia Rzeszów.In the Polish Women's-Volleyball League, there is one team, AZS AWF Poznan. In the Men’s Basketball League, there is AZS Gaz Ziemny Koszalin. In the Men’s Handball League, there is AZS AWF Gdansk.

Olympic gold medalists from AZS

* Waldemar Baszanowski - AZS AWF Warszawa,
* Leszek Blanik - AZS Gdansk,
* Ryszard Bosek - AZS Warszawa,
* Marek Dabrowski - AZS Warszawa,
* Arkadiusz Godel - AZS Lublin,
* Sylwia Gruchala - AZS Gdansk,
* Otylia Jedrzejczak - AZS AWF Warszawa,
* Robert Korzeniowski - AZS AWF Katowice,
* Tomasz Majewski - AZS AWF Warszawa,
* Zbigniew Zarzycki - AZS AWF Warszawa,
* Szymon Ziolkowski - AZS Poznan.

External links

* [http://www.azs.pl/ Main page of the AZS organization]
* [http://katalog.onet.pl/5216,akademickie-zwiazki-sportowe,k.html List of AZS branches]


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