Novelties and comebacks in The Hague this week

The Netherlands, The Hague, June 12, 2017 – After a week’s rest the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour will resume on Wednesday in The Hague. The Dutch city is hosting the world’s top beach volleyball players for the seventh time. In 2015 The Hague staged the World Championships, which featured four different sites (The Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Apeldoorn) for the preliminary rounds, a novelty in the history of beach volleyball.

Always keen on innovation, the Dutch came up with another first-timer for this year’s edition: the 3-star DELA The Hague Open will be staged simultaneously and at the same venue as the Volleyball World League. And, adding another novelty, the beach volleyball event features both outdoor and indoor matches.

The venue is the brand new Sportcampus Zuiderpark, which is nicknamed UFO by the locals because of its shape, located in the southern part of the city. It’s a multifunctional and educational sports complex and also the home base of the Dutch national beach volleyball teams, with both outside and indoor training facilities.

The World Tour centre court is set up in a purpose-built 2,000-seat stadium outside, on the grounds of the campus. The other two beach courts are located inside the sports complex. The World League matches take place in the 3,500-seat arena in the Sportcampus Zuiderpark.

Overseeing both events is former volleyball and beach volleyball star Reinder Nummerdor, who participated in five Olympic Games, two in volleyball (2000, 2004) and three in beach (2008, 2012, 2016). The 40-year old, runner-up at the World Championships in The Hague in 2015, retired after the 2016 Olympic Games, where he placed fifth with Christiaan Varenhorst. He will make a comeback as tournament director for both the World Tour and World League event. On Friday he will be given an official goodbye by the federation.

His wife, former volleyball star Manon Nummerdor-Flier, who made her debut on the World Tour this season, will be competing with Marleen van Iersel in the main draw. The 33-year old Flier is excited to compete on home ground. “This will be a great event. It’s a brand new facility and the same organization that staged the World Championships. They did a great job then, so I am convinced they will do a great job now.”

Having competed in four World Tour events together, with 17th in Xiamen being their best finish so far, Van Iersel hopes for a better result in her hometown. “We will have the support of the home crowd. This just might give us some extra wings.”

Making a (temporary) comeback is 32-year old Dutch player Sanne Keizer, who ended her international career in 2013. The 2012 European champion, who placed ninth at the 2012 London Olympic Games with Van Iersel and claimed two gold medals, a bronze and a silver during her World Tour career, will replace injured Sophie van Gestel at the side of Madelein Meppelink.

"Dutch Delight" for Sanne Keizer as she replaces the injured Sophie van Gestel

The third Dutch pair starting in main draw on Thursday is Jolien Sinnema/Joy Stubbe. The men’s main draw teams are 2013 world champs Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, Christiaan Varenhorst/Maarten van Garderen and Mees Blom/Ruben Penninga. Jannes van der Ham/Sven Vismans and Raisa Schoon/Emi van Driel are scheduled to compete for the Netherlands in the men's and women's qualification tournaments on Wednesday.

Leading the field of the US$150,000 3-star DELA Beach Open are Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs in the men’s competition. Brazil’s Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes, who won their second gold of the season last week in Moscow, lead the women’s competition.


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