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Martin Laciga, beach volleyball pioneer, retires

Martin Laciga has played the second highest number of international tournaments (216) behind Brazilian three-time world champion Emanuel Rego who numbers 225

Bern, Switzerland, January 30, 2013 - Switzerland’s biggest beach volleyball player has pulled the curtain down on his international career after 18 years. Martin Laciga celebrated regular success on the FIVB World Tour and undoubtedly has left his mark on beach volleyball around the world. He withdraws due to injuries.

The statement speaks for itself: world number one with brother Paul in 1999, FIVB World Championships runner’s up the same year, triple European champion, twice European vice-champion, Switzerland’s three-time champion, top ten finishes at three Olympic Games, Switzerland’s team sportsman of 1999. Martin Laciga realized outstanding performances for Switzerland beach volleyball.

With 216 international beach volleyball tournaments to his name, Martin Laciga is the second highest world performer behind Brazil’s legend Emanuel Rego (225 tournaments).

He showed the way to professional beach volleyball in Switzerland
Since the mid-90’s, when beach volleyball became professional, the Laciga brothers, everywhere in the field, contribute to develop the burgeoning professionalism in the discipline. From 1995 to 2004, the two brothers happen to be the best beach volleyball team in Switzerland. The FIVB World Championship silver medal came to them in 1999 and they took part in three World Championships until 2003. After their bronze medal in the European Championship in 1997, they won continental gold from 1998 to 2000 before finishing runner’s up in 2001 and 2002. During the Olympic Games 2000 in Sydney and in Athens in 2004, they ranked 5th. After Athens, their paths took different ways and Martin Laciga played with Markus Egger in 2005/2006. In 2007, he collaborated with Jan Schnider with whom he qualified for the Olympic Games in Beijing where the pair ranked 9th. From 2009 on, Martin Laciga teamed up with Brazil national Jefferson Bellaguarda before Laciga joined Jonas Weingart in 2011 with an aim to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics, although this ultimately was unsuccessful.

Martin Laciga: “Health first”
Martin Laciga, 38, decided to withdraw, not because of a lack of results but because of injuries. Several knee problems over the past two years meant Laciga was unable to keep up a high level of play: “I still enjoy playing but 20 years at the top level leaves a mark. The last few years have really weighed upon me.” Saying goodbye to the sand after 20 years is not easy, he says. But “in the end, health prevails.”

One Swiss on top
Martin Laciga can be content: “The six victories on the World Tour and three victories in Europe from 1998 to 2000 are the top events of my career. Though, for a Swiss, wearing the world number one ranking – ahead of all the Brazilians and Americans – is amazing as well. Moreover, the Gstaad tournament was something special every year that I am going to miss.”

Only the Olympic Games are ambivalent to Martin Laciga: “On one side, the three appearances in Sydney, Athens and Beijing will never be forgotten. But at the same time, they have been disappointing to me. In Atlanta in 1996, Paul and I were not selected; in Sydney, Portugal’s Mais/Brenha played the most amazing game of their career; in Athens and Beijing, we faced the future Olympic champions too soon. The most disappointing memory remains Sydney because we were the favourites.”

An independent future
Regarding his future, Martin Laciga has just graduated in marketing and would like to make the most of his knowledge into sport in Switzerland. “Beach volleyball allowed me to live unique experiences, amazing successes, indescribable emotions, but as well funny stories and above all to meet the woman of my life! Moreover, sport did open doors.”


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