Namibia’s Elizabeth Röttcher makes FIVB debut at 44
She and her partner Julia Laggner were given a wildcard for the fourth and final FIVB Open of the year. After two losses against South Africa’s Williams and Sekhonyana (21-11 21-15) and Japan’s Take and Mizoe (21-11 21-15) the pair takes up last place in pool A, but Röttcher is still having the time of their life.
“I really enjoyed this game”, said the 44-year old after the second game. “We finally settled down a little bit. The first game was not too good, because we were just too nervous. First time on the World Tour, that’s just a bit overwhelming. Julia studies in Germany and plays in Germany, so she has played a couple of times internationally already, but I haven’t.”
Proud to play in a FIVB event
That she is a lot older than most players and more than twice the age of her partner does not bother her at all. “I don’t care. I feel very proud that I can actually play in a FIVB event and have my kiddies here with me to support me.”
Years ago Röttcher started playing beach volleyball at a university in South Africa when she was studying there. Back then she actually partnered up with the now 42-year old Kirsten Pocock, one of the South African players competing at the Durban Open.
When Röttcher returned to Namibia she played on the national tour, but that does not count for much. “In Namibia we don’t really have opportunities. Our national tour consist of twelve ladies, so there is not really that many of players.”
“If I play three times a year, it’s a lot. Because I have nobody to play with at my hometown. I have to drive 60 kilometres to play. I live in Swakopmund which is a beach town, but there is not a single player. Because most of the young kids go either to Germany or go study. So I can’t really train, but I started playing inline hockey at 39 to keep fit.”
For young players, like her partner Julia Laggner, there are more opportunities now. “The Namibian federation has been very proactive in setting up the youngsters to participate in junior championships and things like that, which has been awesome. But when I started playing there was not anything like that.”
Röttcher is determined to continue with beach volleyball as long as her body will let her. “It’s the most awesome sport you can play in the world. It’s an all-round body workout. It’s coordination, it’s movement, fitness, it’s jumping. Of course it is on the beach and it is such a nice social sport. And even if you don’t compete you can socialize.”
When time comes, her daughter will take over. “My daughter is 12 years younger than Julia and I am 24 years older than her. So we have made a deal that my daughter is going to take over as soon as she is bit older.”