Hamburg, Germany, August 15, 2018 – When Sanne Keizer decided to resume her beach volleyball career last January after being away from the sport for almost four years, the Dutch Olympian had several questions to deal with. After just seven months and major success with partner Madelein Meppelink, the 33-year-old veteran has got answers for most of them.
In just 10 World Tour tournaments with Meppelink, Keizer went from having zero ranking points to collecting enough to compete in this week’s Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals Hamburg ’18 presented by Vodafone, where just the top ten teams in the world get the right to fight for the gold medal.
“It’s a present for me,” the Dutch said. “I always try to set realistic goals and I didn’t think that playing here was one of them when the season started. We worked hard and our level improved a lot in the last weeks. I think we were a little lucky to peak at the right time and I’m glad it took us here.”
The team had to deal with some bad results to start with, but showed some promise when it won the silver medal at the three-star event in Mersin, in May. It was within, the last month, however, that Keizer and Meppelink actually joined beach volleyball elite with a gold medal in the European Championships and a bronze medal in the five-star tournament in Vienna.
“I had some struggles to start with, especially on the physical side,” Keizer recalled. “I had a great team by my side and they had me in shape to play in February. But that wasn’t all, because I had to learn to play as a defender. I’d say that just in the last month I found a good balance in all those factors and I’m happy about this new situation.”
With the almost instantaneous success, the veteran, who played in the 2012 London Olympics, feels energized to not only pursue her second Olympic appearance, but also a spot on the podium in Tokyo in two years.
“It has been very exciting for sure because we could never know how it would go as a new team,” Keizer added. “These six months gave me a lot of energy to keep fighting for our goals. We want to fight for a medal in Tokyo and to see we are already in position to do that is great, but we still want to get more consistent as a team.”