Poland have selected a nine-strong team for their home European Games ©Kraków-Małopolska 2023

Nine kickboxers have been selected to represented hosts Poland at this year's European Games in Kraków and Małopolska where the sport will make its debut.

The Polish team includes four athletes in the light contact format, with Anna Knobel in the women’s under-50 kilograms category, Monika Puzio-Nieszporek in women’s under-69kg, Albert Mederski in the men’s under-63kg and Krystian Rzepka in the men’s under-79kg.

There will also be five Polish athletes contesting the full-contact discipline, with Kinga Szlachcic in the women’s under-60kg division, Karolina Juja in women’s under-70kg, Oskar Sobański in the men’s under-63.5 kg, Jakub Pokusa in the men’s under-75kg and Robert Krasoń in the men’s under-86kg.

Pokusa produced the best performance in qualifying as he secured bronze at the European Championships in Antalya last November.

The others qualified after finishing in the top five in the Turkish city apart from Juja, who completes Poland’s nine-strong squad.

Puzio-Nieszporek will have high hopes of being crowned European Games champion after claiming gold at the 2021 World Championships.

Point fighting will be one of three kickboxing disciplines contested at the European Games ©WAKO
Point fighting will be one of three kickboxing disciplines contested at the European Games ©WAKO

Knobel is also expected to be in the mix for medals after having won world bronze two years ago while Pokusa has also achieved European and world medals.

More than 800 athletes competed at last year’s European Championships where they battled it out for places at the European Games.

Kickboxing will be one of 26 sports on the programme at the Games with 128 kickboxers set to compete across the light contact, full contact and point fighting discipline.

The elimination fights are scheduled to take place on June 30 and 1 July, with all finals set to be held on July 2.

"The distinction of these fighting styles is different enough to show all beauty and complexity of the kickboxing  sport, and we are sure the audience in Krakow's sport hall will experience huge excitement," said Roy Baker, head of the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations.

"Kickboxing is a modern combat sport, that attracts significant media attention and is particularly popular with the younger generation.

"It combines endurance, intensity, technical skills, it demands high muscular strength and coordination at the highest level, and we are sure the echo of kickboxing performance at the European Games will be like a storm."