Edition 28 June 2018, by John Mahnen
In 2015, many Dutch and international Beach Volleyball fans enjoyed the Beach Volleyball World Championships held in the Netherlands. Sold-out stadiums and millions of television viewers enjoyed the action, especially during the thrilling men’s final between teams from the Netherlands and Brazil. The success of the 2015 World Championships was contagious, and three years later, the Dutch Volleyball Federation and partner TIG Sports are once again organising a major title tournament.
The DELA Beach Volleyball European Championship is part of a nationwide Volleyball event in the Netherlands which combines all three Olympic disciplines: the DELA Beach Volleyball European Championship, the Sitting Volleyball World Championships and the U20 Volleyball European Championship – Men. These three tournaments will take place at the same time in unique locations throughout the country and will be coming together at one central location for the finals: Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague. In addition to the new marquis facility in the Hague, Rotterdam will host games in the shadow of the majestic SS Rotterdam while Utrecht (Neude) and Apeldoorn (Marketplace) will laydown sand on city center squares. The games are organised under the auspices of the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV). The CEV is the FIVB supporting institution responsible for governing 56 National Federations throughout Europe and is recognized as such by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB).
Drawing of Lots for the 2018 CEV DELA Beach Volleyball European Championship was held on Friday, June 1 in Utrecht. The tournament for men and women will be organised from 15 until 22 July. Presenting partner Rabobank hosted the Drawing of Lots on the 25th floor of their headquarters in Utrecht. The Dutch Volleyball Federation NeVoBo organised the draw together with main sponsor DELA. Eight pools of four teams in four cities were announced. All of the Dutch top teams were present at the draw accompanied by tournament director Reinder Nummerdor and city ambassadors Richard Schuil (Utrecht), Rebekka Kadijk (Rotterdam) and Robert Horstink (Apeldoorn). Nummerdor is also ambassador for the pools and remainder of the tournament taking place in The Hague. Matches will be played in all cities until the quarterfinals. Semi-finals and medal matches will all be held in The Hague on the newly build Sportcampus. Once again, Europe’s best of the beach will descend upon the Netherlands to crown their kings and queens. The Italian team of Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo are the reigning European champions and the number one on the European ranking. They play in Pool A in the heart of Utrecht on the very popular square called ‘De Neude’. Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, the current number two of the European ranking, will play in The Hague. The world champions of 2013 and the winners of Olympic bronze (2016) also won bronze at the European Championship in 2017. Needless to say, they are extremely motivated to win their first European gold on home sand. The experienced Dutch team will play in pool B against Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle. This Belgian team beat Brouwer / Meeuwsen at the last World Championships. But the Dutch team got even by beating them twice during the last Euro Beach Volley in Jurmala, Latvia. Christiaan Varenhorst and Jasper Bouter will play in Utrecht and Dirk Boehlé / Steven van de Velde will take to the court in Apeldoorn. Meeuwsen said: “The Hague, that is great. It is our home town. I have lived there for the last ten years now. We had hoped to be placed in The Hague, so we are very happy with that.” Dirk Boehlé and Steven van de Velde of the Netherlands will be taking on Italy’s Marco Caminati and Enrico Rossi on 15 July at 19.45 CET in the much-anticipated opening match of the 2018 CEV DELA Beach Volleyball European Championship. After the opening match, the pool stage of the men’s tournament will continue Monday, July 16 across four cities – The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Apeldoorn – with Europe’s Beach Volleyball elite taking to the court for a number of exciting matches. Home stars and 2013 world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen will be starting their quest for gold in The Hague playing Turkey’s Murat Giginoglu and Volkan Gögtepe. The bronze medal winners from Rio 2016 are hoping to use the home-court advantage to improve on the third place they claimed last year in Jurmala.
Three-time European champions Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo of Italy will begin their campaign for a fourth continental crown in five years in Utrecht playing Serbia’s underdogs Stefan Basta and Lazar Kolaric. Among the teams to follow closely, Norway rising stars Christian Sandlie Sørum and Anders Berntsen Mol will play their first match in Apeldoorn against France’s Maxime Thiercy and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat.
The women’s pool phase will begin on Tuesday, July 17 across four cities as well. Defending champions Nadja Glenzke and Julia Grossner will not be able to retain the crown they sensationally claimed last year in Jurmala since Glenzke retired from competitive sport earlier this year at the age of 22. Last year’s silver medal winners Kristyna Kolocova and Michala Kvapilova (CZE) will be playing their first match in The Hague against Poland’s Jagoda Gruszczynska and Aleksandra Gromadowska. The bronze medal winners from 2017, Germany’s Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude, are among the favourites for gold and they will play Italy’s Marta Menegatti and Laura Giombini in Apeldoorn to start their quest for the top spot of the podium. The pool phase will finish on Wednesday and Thursday, July 18 and 19, for women and men respectively, before the knock-out stage follows next. The 2018 European champions will emerge on July 21 and 22 in The Hague at the end of a week that will go down in Beach Volleyball history. Tickets for all matches are available at www.volleybal.nl/tickets.