Alanya, Turkey, 31 August 2003 – Austria's Nikolas Berger and Clemens Doppler claimed their first major title by winning the European Championship Beach Volleyball Final in Alanya, Turkey on Sunday. The outsiders for the European crown defeated reigning champions Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann from Germany in an incredible final 2-1 (14-21, 21-15, 16-14). After Dieckmann and Reckermann had one match point in the third set, Berger and Doppler scored three points in a row and that was enough to win the European Championship. Switzerland's Markus Egger and Sascha Heyer claimed the bronze medal.
The conditions during the final, watched by almost 4,000 spectators, were extremely tough. With 45 degrees, an enormous high humidity percentage and the sun shining, nobody expected such a high intensity come the final, but both teams fought right to the end, even when they were tired.
‘This was the toughest match I have ever played,’ Doppler, who had to use a medical time-out at the end of the second set, said. ‘Already after the first set I was so tired, but I didn’t give up. But it feels so great now we have won the championship. It is the biggest victory of our career.’
After the teams split the first two sets, the defending European champions from Germany took a 13-10 lead in the third set, because of some great blocks by Reckermann. Berger and Doppler didn’t give up and thanks to two kill blocks of Doppler they leveled at 13-13. When the Austrians saved the first German match point, they were back in the match. With an enormous block of Berger, he and his partner became the new European Champions.
Swiss Markus Egger and Sascha Heyer, winners of the Greek Open of the European Championship Tour, won the bronze medal match earlier on Sunday after they beat Russians Roman Arkaev and Dimtri Barsouk.