Nummedor-Flier keeps family's volleyball tradition alive

Fort Lauderdale, USA, February 8, 2017 – A runner-up at the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, the Netherlands’ Reinder Nummerdor decided to retire after finishing 5th at the Rio Olympic Games last August. But the traditional Dutch family didn’t remain unrepresented in the sands of the world for much time as his wife, former indoor national team star Manon Nummerdor-Flier, decided to switch to the beach to partner two-time Olympian Marleen Van Iersel.

“The timing of her move was perfect as now I can still be around the Tour, even if on the other side”, jokes Nummerdor. “She was pregnant last year and still wanted to play volleyball. When she was invited, we agreed that she should try beach volleyball for one year and see what the results are, if there is any potential, if she likes it…”

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The 32-year-old Nummerdor-Flier was invited to join beach volleyball by Van Iersel last year, when she was sidelined because of the birth of their daughter Milou, who was born last July. The 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix Most Valuable Player didn’t take much time to say yes even though her initial plans were to find an indoor club in Europe to resume her career.

“Our daughter had been born for only three or four months when Marleen called me. We had to think about it, but not for really that long. When a player like her invites you to play, you can’t say no. I don’t think I would have made the switch with any other partner. I knew it was a great chance to have another sports career,” commented Nummerdor-Flier, who has played 430 matches with the Dutch national team.

After some weeks of training, Nummerdor-Flier stepped on the sand for the first time to compete in the qualification tournament of the $600,000 Fort Lauderdale Major. Under the nervous watch of Reinder on the sidelines, the duo advanced to the main draw after defeating Japanese  pair Azusa Futami and Akiko Hasegawa 2-0 (21-18, 21-13).

"I've never been so nervous, to be honest. Later I calmed down, but I was very nervous in the beginning”, said Nummerdor. “I think she did really well for a first match. She’s coming from indoor and practised for just two months and only one week outside. She learns really fast and will get a lot better, but it is difficult to say how far she can get”.

With a concerned look, Reinder Nummerdor watches his wife's beach volleyball debut

The same confidence, however, is not shared by Nummerdor-Flier herself. Even though she has a good example of a smooth transition from indoor to beach volleyball inside her own home, as Nummerdor started playing on the sand in 2006 following a successful career with the Netherlands' national team - the Dutch approaches her move cautiously.

“I think the experience I have in volleyball with be very helpful. I also know the skills as I’ve never been only a hard hitter on indoor. But, honestly, I am not fully convinced that I can be a good beach volleyball player yet. I have so much to work on and maybe after that I can show it and convince myself,” she comments.

Nummedor-Flier and Van Iersel were drawn in Pool A at Fort Lauderdale and will play USA’s Olympic multi medallists Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, Brazil’s Olympic silver medalist Barbara Seixas and her partner Fernanda Alves and Finland’s Annina Parkkinen and Taru Lahti-Liukkonen in the group stage, on Wednesday and Thursday.


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