Mixed feelings for the German heroes

07.07.2019 - Hamburg, Germany

Thole and Wickler made their country proud, but the final setback still stinks

Frustration and proudness. Those were the mixed feelings German Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler had to deal with at the end of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Hamburg 2019 presented by comdirect and ALDI Nord.

The local heroes dragged thousands to the Red Bull Beach Arena at the Rothenbaum Stadium all week-long and found an electric atmosphere for the final match of the tournament, but Russians Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Viacheslav Krasilnikov frustrated their gold medal plans and the Germans had to settle for silver in their home sand.

“It’s tough,” Wickler said. “Right now we are very disappointed because we lost such an important match but I’m sure that tomorrow when we wake up we’ll be very proud of our team and of the result we had here.”

Thole, who was the tournament’s top scorer with 162 points, pointed the Russians’ serve, which gave them four points in the match, as the difference-maker in the final match.

“The Russians had a very good serve and that’s where they were better than us,” he analyzed. “In the end, Stoyanovskiy had a great run and maybe we should have changed our receiving strategy, but we have to accept that he did a very good job.”

The 2.07m-blocker, nicknamed ‘The Tower’, echoed his partner and agreed that they’ll probably share the same feeling of the 13.000 of their compatriots who stayed at the Red Bull Beach Arena singing their names during the entire awarding ceremony.

“I think tomorrow we’ll be very proud of what we accomplished here,” he added. “We had a tough start in the tournament as we were really nervous, but got to develop our game in each match. But for now it’s still really hard to accept how it ended.”

Thole and Wickler, who had finished fourth in Hamburg at last year’s World Tour Finals, didn’t get the elusive gold medals, but they didn’t take the silver for granted and also appreciated the 1.440 points they added to their Olympic rankings with the second-place finish in their hometown.

“We need to be proud of us,” Wickler remarked. “What we learned here will be very important for the next tournaments. We also cannot forget that we won a huge amount of Olympic points here and that puts us much closer to Tokyo 2020.”

The Germans were not the only men's team to lose a World Championships gold medal match at home as the same happened in the last two editions of the tournament, when Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst took silver in the Hague in 2015 and Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst were second in Vienna in 2017.