The Hague, Netherlands, January 5, 2018 – Dutch Olympian Sanne Keizer can be forgiven if she feels a touch disorientated on her fulltime comeback to beach volleyball and the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, after all she is now playing as defender having previously played blocker for a number of years.
The 32-year-old Keizer has made her return at the Dela Beach Open after she stepped away from the sport in 2014. She had enjoyed 12 years on the Tour having first made her name by winning the 2002 FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships.
During that time, Keizer established herself as one of the most determined competitors on the Tour, and a powerful presence at the net. She played alongside Marleen van Iersel at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the pair won two World Tour golds and the European Championships together.
“At that point I had been fulltime for 14 years and I was tired of being on the road and felt like I needed to start my life and I don’t regret stopping,” Keizer said. “I always felt I wasn’t finished in my head and maybe because I wanted to be a defender.
“Normally I was a blocker, but I wanted to come back as a defender because I wasn’t very talented as a blocker, but I was always the tallest one.
“But this time I said I want to come back as a defender and there were people that believed in me and now it feels really good. I still have to learn a lot and I can improve and that feels good.”
In the summer of 2017 Madelein Meppelink tempted her out of retirement for the Dela Beach Open. Keizer also played a national tour competition with Meppelink, and one with van Iersel, which helped her decide to give fulltime beach volleyball one more go.
Having fully made her mind up to comeback she worked hard over the autumn and winter to return in the best shape possible for the Dela Beach Open, which is taking place in the indoor arena at Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague.
In the three years that Keizer was away from professional sport she became a mother to twins – one boy, one girl – and completed her Masters of Criminal Investigation.
“Now it is fulltime,” she said. “Last year I was playing here because the partner of Madelein was injured, but that was the tournament where I felt like I could still do it and I still wanted it.
“Of course, over the last few years it was always in my head that I wanted to come back, and then there was a chance and I’m so happy I’m back. Now I have my head fully back on the sand and I love that.”
For more information on the tournament, click here.