Alanya, Turkey, 30 August 2003 – Germany's Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau are the new European Beach Volleyball Champions after defeating compatriots Andrea Ahmann and Jana Vollmer in the final in Alanya, Turkey on Saturday. Both Pohl and Rau played a tremendous tournament at the beautiful Kleopatra Beach winning a total of seven matches on the way to the gold medal. 2002 champions Daniela Gattelli and Lucilla Perrotta from Italy claimed the bronze medal.
Pohl and Rau sailed through the European Championship Final 2-0 (21-15, 21-18) infront of 4,000 spectators in the packed center court as temperatures reached the low 40s.
‘We didn’t believe that we could win here,’ an extremely happy Rau said. ‘This season was very tough and we had some injury problems. Here at the European Championship Final, everything went well. It was simply a perfect tournament for us.’
Besides being the first European Champion from Germany since 1995, Pohl and Rau take home 113 Olympic Qualification points each. ‘This is extremely important for us,’ Rau continued. ‘There is a big fight between the teams in Germany to gain qualification for the Olympics. Our first goal was to win as many points as possible, but now we are European Champions we can celebrate the title and the points.’
A maximum of two German teams can qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Meanwhile Gattelli and Perrotta were much too strong for the Dutch duo of Rebekka Kadijk and Marrit Leenstra winning 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) in the play off for bronze.