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Brasilia Open | Men
  18/04/2011 - 23/04/2011

Brink seeking to repeat 2009 success

Germany's Julius Brink, right, sets the Mikasa for Jonas Reckermann and the pair are aiming to reproduce their 2009 championship form on this year's FIVB Swatch World Tour.

Lausanne, Switzerland, April 13, 2011 – Germany's Julius Brink is hoping that the upcoming beach volleyball season has more in common with the 2009 campaign than the last one.

Brink and his partner Jonas Reckermann are among the leading tandems preparing for next week's Brasilia Open, curtain-raiser for the FIVB Swatch World Tour, and they know what it takes to compete with the best having claimed the tour title in 2009.

The German duo won four gold medals en route to that title – their victories including the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championship in Stavanger, Norway – but they failed to repeat those exploits in 2010 when, hampered
by injuries, they did not win a single event (albeit still finishing fifth overall).

Yet Brink, 28, is optimistic about a return to winning ways in the 2011 season. The 2008 Olympian, who has eight career gold medals on the world tour, said: "We both feel stronger than last year when we had several injuries from early in the season. Our preparation is going very well so far."

Brink, who has earned US$535,760 in prize money in his 12 seasons on the tour, added: "We have analysed what happened in 2009 and how the sport and the game have developed. Other teams have as well and those that have prepared the best physically and mentally should obviously play the best."

Playing together for the last two seasons, Brink and Reckermann have competed in 18 world tour events together, earning four gold medals, four silver, five bronze and two fourth places. In their first appearance in Brazil last year, the pair finished seventh – one of only three events where they failed to finish in the final four.

Brink, born in Munster but now resident in Kiel when not travelling the globe, does not need reminding that he and Reckermann have a World Championship to defend in a couple of months' time. And he is philosophical about the prospects of retaining their title at the 2011 edition in Rome on June 13-19.

"There will be many teams who can become world champions in Rome as there are many teams who can win every tournament – especially the young teams who are improving very, very fast. This will make it an even more competitive field than it was in Stavanger in 2009."

Brink prefers to focus on the immediate challenge rather than look ahead to the London 2012 Olympic Games. The first priority is to learn from what went wrong last year – even if they still posted six final-four finishes in eight events, including two silver medals and three bronze.

"It was very difficult for us in 2010," he said. "We had short preparation, some changes in the structure around our team and then we got injured and were fighting back the rest of the year. We want to turn a tough experience into something that will help us get through these types of problem quicker and better in the future. As far as London is concerned, I know I will be wiser than I was in Beijing in 2008, and hopefully better as a team."

Leading the men's field this year are USA's Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, the 2008 Olympic champions and 2010 world tour winners, who picked up the gold medal in Brasilia 12 months ago – the first of an FIVB record haul of nine. The silver and bronze medals in Brasilia went to the Brazilian tandems of Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego and Benjamin Insfran and Bruno Oscar Schmidt, respectively.

This year's world tour starts in Brasilia for the third straight season with the women's competition running from Sunday through to next Friday and the men's from Monday to Saturday. A total of 80 men's and 64 women's teams from 36 countries have officially entered to compete for US$380,000 in the Brazilian capital, which will be celebrating its 51st anniversary next Thursday. The popular event will be held on The Esplanada dos Ministerios in Quadrante 1.

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15/04/2011 Adriana backing Brazil duo in new FIVB blog
15/04/2011 Duos from 36 nations braced for Brasilia Open
15/04/2011 Brazilians looking for home advantage in season-opener
14/04/2011 Brink seeking to repeat 2009 success
13/04/2011 Laciga draws new energy from Weingart partnership
9/04/2011 World's best set for 2011 beach volleyball season
2/02/2011 Brasilia opens World Tour for third time
27/01/2011 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour calendar finalised