FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Sao Paulo Grand Slam | 23 - 28 September 2014

#SaoPauloGS


Press release

Varenhorst calls in the Experience to FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam


Netherlands Christiaan Varenhorst, left, battles Canada's Josh Binstock at the net as Dutch teammate Reinder Nummerdor and Varenhorst are helping advance their homeland as they will compete in Sunday's gold medal match at the FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.

Sao Paulo, Brazil, September 27, 2014 - After a strong start to the 2014 FIVB World Tour season, then a bit of a dip in the middle, the Netherlands' 24-year-old Christiaan Varenhorst has finished it in style with a first ever Grand Slam medal, and it's thanks in part to some help from a pair of veteran guiding hands.

Those hands belong to 38-year-old four-time Olympian Reinder Nummerdor who has formed an interesting new partnership with Varenhorst that has already produced some notable results, including a quarter-final on their debut FIVB World Tour event in Stare Jablonki and gold at the Baku Masters, the last stop on this year's CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship.

Despite a bronze medal in the opening event of the 2014 FIVB World Tour season at the Fuzhou Open in China, Varenhorst had some mid-season issues with previous partner Jon Stiekema and saw an opportunity to invite Nummerdor to play alongside him for a few events as the season wound down.

"I'm young and I need someone experienced," said Varenhorst on the decision to go for Nummerdor. "Me and my partner decided our season was finished, and then I asked Reinder because I felt I still wanted to play some tournaments, I felt physically good, mentally good and I felt like there was more to achieve."

"Only the feeling of having him next to me makes me more calm, makes me play my own game," he said. "And sometimes if I lose my head, he tells me just do whatever your strength is and you'll be fine."

Nummerdor has been working on various combinations since the retirement of his long-time partner Richard Schuil, and had to get over an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury he suffered before the season, but as he got fitter and fitter Varenhorst approached him.

"He was playing with Stiekema and they were playing great, but they didn't make any semi-finals in the Grand Slams, so we decided in the last tournaments to play together and see what we could achieve, how the chemistry was between us, and it's working out great so far."

Nummerdor played the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games as part of the Netherlands' indoor volleyball team, then at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games alongside Schuil on the sand, just missing out on a bronze medal in London, and had 16 FIVB World Tour medals to his name, including nine gold, before the Sao Paulo Grand Slam, and he's well aware of his role in the new partnership.

"He's never played finals or semi-finals," Nummerdor said about his younger partner. "The more you can play in those games the better it is for your experience."

"I always say it's just a matter of playing like it's any other game, that's the key. If you can get that in your head and do what you do every day, but that's not easy with the pressure of a final, but we will see."

A tough final against re-formed 2004 Olympic champions Ricardo and Emanuel of Brazil, players with even more beach volleyball experience than his new partner, is what stands between Varenhorst and a first ever Grand Slam title, and alongside him his new Nummerdor will be hoping for his 10th FIVB World Tour gold.

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