Windhoek, Namibia, August 24, 2011 - The FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch Junior World Championships for players under 21 years old is drawing near in the Canadian town of Halifax, attracting the top junior athletes from across the world.
From the 31st of August until the 4th of September the young beach Volleyball generation will gather on the courts and this time the Namibian flag will also be hoisted in the opening ceremony as two young athletes from the country enter the competition: 18-Year-olds Julia Laggner and Corinna Wahl, will be representing Namibia and Africa on the Canadian beach sand.
Laggner and Wahl have been working toward such a career highlight since they started playing together as partners in 2008. Although momentarily parted by Corinna’s choice to pursue her studies in Europe, the team continued training individually as good as their educational circumstances allowed it.
When the African Volleyball Confederation (CAVB )approached the team earlier this year, Laggner and Wahl soon agreed to meet the terms which enabled them to be selected as a team to represent Africa in Halifax. This put the team into the fortunate position as to get sponsorship for all travel costs by CAVB and accommodation supplied by the hosting country.
Laggner and Wahl competed together at the Continental Cup Sub Zonal tournament in Windhoek in January this year. After Wahl’s departure to Europe, Laggner has continued to consistently show good performances in the local Volleyball scene and also managed to compete in various international tournaments like the Splash festival in Pretoria, the Zone VI All Africa Games Qualifiers in Swakopmund and the Continental Cup Zonal tournament in Mozambique.
Still, the FIVB Swatch Junior World Championships will be the first tournament of such magnitude for the 1,79m tall athlete. She therefore greatly anticipates the event: “I am looking forward to meeting new people, hopefully developing new friendships and connections, but also just want get to know the standard of international Volleyball”, said Laggner.
In preparation, Laggner is receiving coaching twice a week and supportive training at a local fitness studio. When asked whether the separation of the team may prove itself as an obstacle, Laggner replied “I don’t think that this will be a problem since Corinna and I have played together for long and know each other well enough. I will leave for Innsbruck shortly before the world champs so that we will get back into team play.” The team will spend one week training together in Innsbruck, Austria, for their final preparations.
The teammates do not consider the tournament to be an exclusive moment in their sports career, but hope that there will be further challenges of this rank following. Since Laggner will finish school this year, she plans to make the sport a higher priority in her life to see how far her potential can get her.
With their optimistic approach, Laggner/Wahl will carry the Namibian flag proudly when competing against the world’s best U-21 teams.