Dutch stars return to World Tour at The Hague Grand Slam
The Hague, the Netherlands, June 7, 2013 – Dutch veterans Richard Schuil and Reinder Nummerdor are all set for a comeback on the FIVB World Tour next week in The Hague. The former European champions were seriously considering ending their careers after losing the bronze medal match at the 2012 London Olympic Games, but changed their mind during the winter.
‘’In the end we enjoy the game too much’’, 40-year-old Schuil said. ‘’We will see how far we get, maybe we might even play on till the Olympics in Rio. As long as I stay fit, we play.’’ Since The Hague is their first event since the Olympics last summer, their expectations are not too high.
While Nummerdor spent most of the winter in Baku, Azerbeijan, where his girlfriend and volleyball player Manon Flier was contracted, Schuil kept fit with new coach Casper Groenhuijzen. ‘’We have not been training together for long, so we do not expect too much in The Hague. But we hope to really be there at the World Championships in Poland in July.’’
Alison and Emanuel
Schuil, who won the Dutch open event in 2009 with Nummerdor, sees world champions Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego as one of the favourites for the Grand Slam title in The Hague. ‘’They showed good form, winning the World Cup Final last week after Alison’s injury. But I also think Dalhausser and Rosenthal will do well. I think they are a stronger combination than Dalhausser and Rogers used to be.’’
The Americans lead the field in the men’s competition. Around 80 men’s teams entered The Hague Transavia Grand Slam 2013 presented by Bas van der Goor Foundation. Among the 61 women’s teams are World Cup winners Maria Antonelli and Talita Antunes. The Brazilian pair won the open event in The Hague in 2010 and finished second in 2009.
This year they both teamed up with new partners, except for the little reunion at the World Cup Final last week. Antonelli leads the field in The Hague with Agatha Bednarczuk, after finishing second at the Grand Slam in Corrientes, Argentina. Talita won the Shanghai Grand Slam with her new partner Taiana Lima.
Meppelink and Van Gestel
Corrientes champions Madelein Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel have high hopes for the Grand Slam on home soil. ‘’After winning in Argentina we consider ourselves as one of the favourites’’, Van Gestel said. The Hague is their home base and they can count on a lot of support from friends and family. Meppelink: ‘’We want to show everyone what we are capable of and prove Corrientes was not just good luck.’’
Among the other teams that entered the Transavia Grand Slam, are Olympic silver medallists Jennifer Kessy and April Ross from USA and European champions Sanne Keizer and Marleen van Iersel from the Netherlands. Also competing in the men’s event are Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson, who won the Shanghai Grand Slam this year, Corrientes gold medallists Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs from Latvia and Olympic champion Julius Brink and his new partner Sebastian Fuchs from Germany.
Third Grand Slam
The Transavia Grand Slam (June 11-16) is the third Grand Slam on the 2013 World Tour calendar after Shanghai and Corrientes. The Hague is hosting a Grand Slam for the first time after Open events in 2009 and 2010 and the European Championships in 2012. The city is one of four venues for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2015. All matches are staged at the beach of Scheveningen.
All Dutch teams will play with mourning bands in memory of record international volleyball player Ingrid Visser. The former Dutch international and her partner Lodewijk Severein were found murdered near the Spanish town of Murcia last month.