The Hague, The Netherlands, June 11, 2017 - When the FIVB World Tour returns here this week for the seventh double gender event on the 2017 international Beach Volleyball calendar, there will be a notable individual missing from the list of participants competing for the gold medal.
Although Reinder Nummerdor’s presence on the sand will be absent, his knowledge will still play a part in the production of the first-ever combined FIVB World Tour and World League event as the host country will not only be hosting 96 pairs from 32 countries for Beach Volleyball, The Netherlands will also entertain teams from Korea, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in Volleyball.
In addition to his tournament directorship this week at The Hague event, Nummerdor’s “love” of his life will be competing with Marleen van Iersel in the women’s Main Draw as his wife (Manon Flier-Nummerdor) is in the midst of her first season as an international Beach Volleyball player after playing in 430 matches for the Dutch National team over 15 seasons.
As always, a debatable issue when determining an individual’s successes, Reinder’s greatest claim to fame is his voluminous successes on the sand while Manon’s celebrity is based on her indoor reputation as she led The Netherlands to a gold medal at the 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix where she was named the "Most Valuable Player".
Manon Nummerdor-Flier of The Netherlands at the Fort Lauderdale Major in February
However, the couple’s best moment happened a month before the Rio Olympics on Copacabana when Manon gave birth to their daughter (Milou) on a weekend when Reinder was competing in a FIVB World Tour stop in Switzerland at the SWATCH Major Series event in Gstaad where he and Christiaan Varenhorst reached the “elite eight”.
The Nummerdors - Reinder, Milou and Manon
Although Nummerdor never fulfilled his “dream” of winning an Olympic medal as he appeared five-straight-times for The Netherlands in the Summer Games, he left a mark as one of three men's players (USA’s Karch Kiraly and compatriot and former partner Richard Schuil) to compete in the quadrennial as both a Volleyball (Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004) and Beach Volleyball (Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016) player.
Nummerdor, who played in 349 international Volleyball matches for The Netherlands, competed 11 seasons on the FIVB World Tour with 12 gold medal finishes, 21 podium placements, 27 “final four” finishes and 49 “elite eight” appearances. Playing with three different partners, Nummerdor compiled a 346-175 match mark (66.4 winning percentage).
The 40-year old Nummerdor had competed in the previous six FIVB World Tour stops in The Hague, including four with Schuil (2008, 2010, 2011, 2013), and one each with Steven van de Velde (2014) and Christiaan Varenhorst (2015). Nummerdor and Schuil captured the inaugural 2008 event in The Hague and placed second together in 2011.
Richard Schuil (left) and Reinder Nummerdor of The Netherlands
At the 2015 FIVB World Championships in The Hague, Nummerdor and Varenhorst won their first six matches to advance to the “final four” where the Dutchmen split a pair of three-set contests with Brazilian teams. After defeating Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg 2-1 (21-18, 21-23, 15-12) in a 54-minute semi-final match, Nummerdor and Varenhorst dropped the 54-minute finale 2-1 (12-21, 21-14, 22-20) to Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt.
The 12 FIVB titles individually for Nummerdor ranks 15th all-time and the best-ever by a European player on the World Tour since the start of internationally-sanctioned events in 1987. His nine gold medals with Schuil is tied for 11th all-time with Marcio Araujo/Benjamin Insfran of Brazil and Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia.
The best defensive player on the FIVB World Tour in 2009 and 2011, Nummerdor completed his international Beach Volleyball career as his “elite eight” finish at the Rio 2016 Olympics that marked his 101st event. After the completion of the 2016 season, he was named the international circuit’s most inspirational player.
A European champion in both Volleyball (1997) and Beach Volleyball (2008), Nummerdor’s final international Beach Volleyball match was “bittersweet” as he and Varenhorst were ousted by compatriots Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen 2-0 (25-23, 21-17) in a 41-minute quarter-final match. Brouwer and Meeuwsen then lost to Alison and Bruno 2-1 (21-17, 21-23, 16-14) in a 56-minute semi-final match and won the bronze medal with a 2-0 (23-21, 22-20) victory in 56 over Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Konstantin Semenov of Russia.
Reinder Nummerdor (top right) in his final match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Here is a Q&A with Reinder Nummerdor
Question - What have you been doing with your "free" time now that you are not training and playing Beach Volleyball?
Reinder Nummerdor – “Little project with the federation to get boys more involved into (beach) volleyball. Visiting schools and trying to find new talent. Playing tennis and golf whenever I have some spare time.”
Question - How is fatherhood?
RN – “Fatherhood is amazing! Enjoying so much seeing her develop into a little girl!”
Question - Was it your plan all along for the Nummerdor name to continue the FIVB World Tour when you retired by having your wife to fill in for you?
RN - “No. The first idea was for Manon to play abroad again with an indoor team. Then Marleen (van Iersel) came with the question to play Beach Volleyball with her. Manon didn't hesitate long.”
Questions - With your wife playing with Marleen, are you the coach? If not, what are your duties?
RN - “Actually, I don't want to interfere too much. I'm not the coach so it will only be more confusing if I also give my opinion. It's already a lot of new information and things to work on if you make the transition from indoor volleyball to the beach.”
Question - I know that you were disappointed with your finish at the Rio Olympics, but what are your thoughts about your Beach Volleyball career?
RN – “I feel like I've done everything in my possibilities to succeed. I've won a lot. Of course, there are some tough losses, but it's part of the game. I feel privileged to have been able to compete at the highest level for such a long time.”
Questions – Outside of getting married and having a baby girl while you were playing Beach Volleyball, what were the highlights of your career? Any single moment that tops your list of achievements?
RN - “In 1997 we won the European Championships with the indoor team. It was the highlight in my indoor career. After that our first FIVB World Tour gold medal in 2007 in Bahrain (with Richard Schuil). I think it really gave the sport a boost in the Netherlands. Of course, I must mention also the WC final in 2015 in our home country. Although we lost the final, it was an amazing two weeks of Beach Volleyball and another great moment for our sport in The Netherlands.”
Reinder Nummerdor (center) being interviewed after winning the FIVB 2008 Bahrain event with Richard Schuil
Question - When reviewing the list of all-time FIVB World Tour gold medal winners, do you know what European player has won more international titles than you?
RN - “I know, but wondering if you know? Then it will probably be me if you ask it that way.
Question - Talking about the world championships, what does it take to win the title?
RN - “To win the title, you'll have to be on top of your game. Physically, but even more important mentally! And a little bit of luck, maybe!”
Question - Anything else to add?
RN - “I'm looking forward to be tournament director next week and see all the players and staff again!”
This week’s US$150,000 event will be played at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark where a projected 144 Beach Volleyball matches will be played starting with Wednesday’s qualification followed by four days of Main Draw action. The medal matches will be staged June 18 with the winning teams per gender sharing the $10,000 first-place prizes.
Three FIVB World League matches will be played at the 3,000-seat Sportcampus Zuiderpark, a multifunctional sports and education center. FIVB World Tour and World League activities will be the first international sporting event to take place at the new venue, which is also the new training center for the Dutch federation's Beach Volleyball program.