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Keizer: Dutch kids have a chance to develop their talent

The Netherland's Sanne Keizer (facing) and Sophie van Gestel were eliminated from the US$1-Million Transavia Grand Slam on Thursday but believe the future is bright for Dutch beach volleyball
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, July 17, 2014 – There is no doubt that beach volleyball's popularity is increasing in the Netherlands. But home heroes Sophie van Gestel and Sanne Keizer believe the sport has the potential to gain even more popularity across the country.

“When I was young I had no chance to choose beach volleyball,” Keizer said. “We don’t have a lot of indoor facilities for beach volleyball and we also have very long winters.”

But she thinks it’s getting better.

“They are introducing the beach volleyball at school and in sports clubs. Kids now have a more chances to develop their talent than when I was young.”

The duo crashed out of the US$1-million Transavia Grand Slam after losses to teams from USA, Canada and Australia, but were positive that the exposure this year’s competition and next year’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships will help introduce the sport to a wider audience in the Netherlands.

“All the people in the Hague already know about beach volleyball” Keizer explained. “But in Apeldoorn and Amsterdam beach volleyball still has to develop, although I think the Hague will always stay the main venue.”  

Playing in front of their home fans is also something the duo have enjoyed over the past few days, particularly in Amsterdam for Keizer.

“It is always very nice to play in the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam because I lived there for a while,” she said. “I think it is important to because it is a very international city. Of course we have the Hague but I think it is good to introduce beach volleyball to the rest of Holland as well.”

Despite their best efforts they will play no further part in this tournament after their loss to Canada saw them finish bottom of Pool B. But it was the first Grand Slam the tandem played together, so they were happy to reflect on the experience.

“We played some Dutch tournaments but the level is very different to here,” van Gestel said. “We are happy with how we played . Our goal was going through from the pool but we knew it was hard. We practiced so hard. It is a different season than other seasons and we are really happy with how we played and what we did.”

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