20.06.2019 - The Hague
In a nutshell
The ninth Beach Volleyball World Championships stayed in Europe as the Netherlands hosted the championships for the first time. It was also a historic event as four different locations around the country played host. Pool matches and elimination matches were held in The Hague, Amsterdam, Apeldoorn and Rotterdam, with The Hague hosting the semi-finals and finals. As ever, 96 teams took part and competed for a share of one million US Dollars. The winners would guarantee themselves a ticket for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Brazil back on top… and then some
After winning just two medals in Stare Jabłonki – none of which were gold – Brazilian teams came back with a vengeance in the Netherlands, winning five out of the six medals including both golds. Absolutely savage.
In the women’s tournament it was a clean sweep. The podium saw three Brazilian teams stand tall to belt out the words of their iconic national anthem Hino Nacional Brasileiro (sadly, literally, officially just called the Brazilian National Anthem).
Taking top spot and a ticket to the Copacabana were Barbara Seixas and Agatha Bednarzuck, who won all eight matches and dropped just one set across the 10 days. Having eased out of Pool F, the pair were taken to three the one and only time during the competition in their first knockout match against Canada’s Jamie Broder and Kristina May. A win over another Canadian pair, Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke followed, before a quarter-final win over China’s Fan Wang and Yuan Yue booked them a spot in the semis. In the last four they beat Maria Antonelli and Juliana Felisberta to set-up a final against Fernanda Alves and Taiana Lima – which the won 22-18, 22-20.
Maria and Juliana took bronze in an exiciting battle for third place, the duo beating Germany’s Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler 23-25, 21-18, 15-9 in one hour’s play.
On the men’s side, the 60,000 US Dollars top prize went the way of Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt in sensational style.
The pair played party poopers, denying the home side victory in what can only be described as an epic final in The Hague – more of that later. The Brazilians’ route to the final was straight-forward – seven wins en-route with a semifinal win over Americans Theo Brunner and Nick Lucena pathing the way for a meeting with home favorites Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst. The Dutch took the first set, 21-12; back came Alison and Bruno, taking the second 21-14. Then, in a rollercoaster, nerve-shredding third set, both teams traded match points before the Brazilians finished the job, coming out on the right side of a 22-20 scoreline. Incredible stuff. It was Alison’s second world title victory having won in 2013.
As with the women, Brazil also took bronze, as Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg saw off Brunner/Lucena in the battle for third.
In the men’s event a number of the top seeds fell by the wayside in the early elimination rounds. Evandro/Pedro and Brunner/Lucena outran their seeding of 12th and 15th respectively. The United States had three teams finish in the top five yet did not have a medal to show for it. Newcomers from Qatar, Cherif Samba and Jefferson Pereira, were the breakout team, the 27th seeds finishing fifth. They also took a set off the eventual champions Alison/Bruno.
On the women’s side the highest-ranked seed to finish in the top five were number four seeds Holtwick/Semmler, who finished… fourth.
It was a decent tournament for Canada, with Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan (seeded 22) reaching the quarter-finals and Humana-Paredes and Pischke (seeded 24) finishing ninth. The highest seeded team to post a top-10 finish were Russia’s Ekaterina Birlova and Evgeniya Ukolova, who came into the competition as the number 34 seeds.
Worth a watch
If there’s one thing you do today… scrap that. If there’s one thing you do this WEEK, it’s to find eight minutes to watch this utter ding-dong battle in the final set of the men’s final between home faves Nummerdor/Varenhorst against South American geniuses Alison/Bruno.
Of course we’re praying for a similar end-game when the men’s final comes round on July 7 in Hamburg. Maybe it’ll involve Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler. Maybe it won’t. But if it’s as gripping as this final, we’ll be in for a treat. WATCH IT.
How did the Dutch do?
Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst were inches away, grains of sand away, from sending the whole of The Hague into a frenzy in the gold medal match. Watching that YouTube clip back, we’re still not sure who we’re supporting. Because the final was that good. And the crowd! The crowd! Imagine the scenes. Oh well. Anyway, a silver for the duo was a fantastic achievement, even better when you consider the Brazilians took five of the other medals.
The win for Alison/Bruno ended Dutch dreams of winning back-to-back world titles, following Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen’s success in 2013. On home sand the pair got through the pool play, but lost to Vitor Felipe and Alvaro Filho at the first hurdle come the knockout phase.
The Dutch women’s best performers were top seeds Madelein Meppelink and Marleen van Iersel who finished ninth after losing in the second elimination phase to Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy of Australia.
The other Dutch team to reach the knockout phase was Jantine van der Vlist and Sophie van Gestel, but the number 47 seeds were eliminated by eventual fourth-place finishers Holtwick/Semmler.
A special World Championships because
That final! The Dutch… so close! Oh, and Brazil for winning everything (well, almost).
Impress your friends by saying:
It’s the only time in Beach Volleyball World Championship history that there’s been a clean sweep of medals for either gender.
Where are they now?
Reinder Nummerdor, the man, the legend of Dutch beach volleyball. His favorite film? Apparently Shawshank Redemption. Loves Kings of Keon and Gstaad (who doesn’t?) and only started playing beach volleyball at the age of 29. He played volleyball for the Netherlands at two Olympics and then went and appeared at three more (2008, 2012, 2016) as a beach volleyballer. Legend.
His silver medal at the World Championships was one of 21 World Tour medals that the now 42-year-old won during his career. He retired from the beach after the 2016 Olympics. There, he and Christiaan Varenhorst lost to Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen – who went onto win the bronze medal.
Today, Reinder is assistant coach of the Netherlands’ beach teams, including of course, Brouwer/Meeuwsen.
We spoke to him about it last year, and you can read it here.
The championships in three words?
Brazil win five.
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