The second Jarek Pasko Memorial Tournament took place at Portobello Beach on Saturday, June 24.
Thirteen men’s teams and eight women’s took to the sand to contest for £100 prize money, with players travelling from Amsterdam, Northern Ireland and all over to Scotland to play and celebrate the life of an old beach volleyball friend. In the men’s contest, Lenard Sobieracki and Tomas Laba overcame Mariusz Chudzik and Jan Zavacky two sets to nil in a hard fought final.
The women’s final was an incredibly close affair. Beach volleyball ace Lilian Lieber brought former partner
Sarah Naumann out of retirement for the tournament and were pitted against the Edinburgh based pair of Sharon Versteeg and Maria Manolopolou, whose gameplay has improved markedly with hard work and coaching input from Lenard. Sharon and Maria battled back from 7-14 down to take the first set before narrowly losing the second. They went 14-11 up in the third set before some gritty play by beach veteran Lieber levelled and then won the match. Amazing skill by all four players made it easily the match of the day.
The tournament is named after Jarek Pasko, an Aberdeen based Polish beach volleyball player who died from cancer in late 2015. Jarek was a superb volleyball player, a talented scientist, and a friend to everyone who played beach volleyball in Scotland. His mother and father travelled from Poland to be at the tournament, and his widow Aska was also present. The Polish organisers kept a BBQ and fire going all afternoon, feeding hungry volleyball players sausage, burgers and goulash.
All entry money went to help pay for treatment for two-year old Polish boy Dominik Bernady, who suffers from brain cancer. Both winning pairs generously donated their combined £200 prize money to the fund, bringing the total raised to around £850.
This year’s event was doubly poignant. Its organiser, Pawel Kiszka, left Scotland the next day to return to Poland after 13 years here. His contribution to Aberdeen’s indoor and beach volleyball scene is immeasurable. Players presented him with a card and gifts, and drank whisky on the beach until well after midnight to give him a proper Scottish send off.