Hamburg, Germany, June 25, 2019 - With the 12th edition of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships beginning here Friday, new memorable moments will be created to add to the existing noteworthy happenings from the past 11 World Championships.
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"Everybody wants to play in a World Championship," said Reis Castro, who will be coaching the fourth-seeded women's team Rebecca Cavalcanti/Ana Patricia Silva of Brazil this week. "Hamburg 2019 will add to the history in beach volley and the world championships. It's an amazing venue and in a beautiful city."
Castro, who was the first-ever FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour partner for 2005 world champion Marcio Araujo, is one of the many coaches who told us about memorable moments from past FIVB World Championships.
"I'll never forget our title in Roma 2011," said Castro, who was coaching Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca for the Italian World Championships. "We had a 17th in Beijing a week before the Rome championships. We played very well. In the gold medal match we were trailing 10-13 against Kerri (Walsh Jennings) and Misty (May-Treanor). We came back and won the third set 16-14."
Celebrating a gold medal in Rome were Brazilians Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta
Dutch coach Richard de Kogel said "the competition will be awesome as the level of the teams is getting better and better. I don’t expect a lot of surprises, because the level is too high at the top."
As for a memory, de Kogel remembers being part of one of the biggest upsets in FIVB World Championship history when he and Emiel Boersma defeated top-seeded and Athens 2004 Olympic champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 15-13) in a 60-minute second round match in 2005 at Berlin.
Dutchman Richard de Kogel
Speaking of the Dutch, French coach Hens Pascal listed Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen's gold medal finish at the 2013 World Championships in Poland as his "memorable moment. It was so unexpected." Brouwer and Meeuwsen were seeded 13th in the event and rebounded from a pool play setback to win five straight matches to capture the title in Stare Jablonki by defeating Brazilians Alvaro Filho and Ricardo Santos in the finale.
German coach Tilo Backhaus called the 2015 World Championships in the Netherlands "the best week of my sporting life. My team (Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler) won every match 2-0 and qualified for the semifinals in The Hague."
While several coaches said the 2017 Vienna World Championships were memorable due to the amazing crowds and hot weather, one coach said "the sequence of serves from Evandro (Goncalves from Brazil) in the final against Doppler (Clemens) and Horst (Alexander) stays in my head as the Austrians were leading 20-17 in the first set. What a remarkable effort by Evandro."
When asked about surprising teams or individuals, three-time Olympic and world champion Walsh Jennings and her new partner Brooke Sweat received several mentions from the coach. As one mentor stated, "the surprise will be Kerri. She is still getting good results despite the age."
The 40-year-old Walsh Jennings is the oldest woman to win an FIVB World Tour event as she and Sweat topped the podium on May 26 at the Jinjiang Open in China by defeating Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy in the finals after posting a pool play win over the Australians earlier in the competition.
Kerri Walsh Jennings (left) and Brooke Sweat of the United States
Another coach noted that Walsh Jennings and Sweat "will be out to prove something. And, I’d keep my eye on Germans Borger (Karla) and Sude (Julia) taking advantage of home crowd. Agatha Bednarczuk also has a history of performing well in important events.”
Agatha, who is playing with Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa, captured the 2015 World Championship trophy for Brazil with Barbara Seixas. From their gold medal effort at The Hague, Agatha and Barbara then claimed the silver medal together at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by defeating Walsh Jennings/April Ross in the semifinals before losing to Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany in the finals.
Joining Walsh Jennings and Sweat as other teams on the women's "surprise" list will be reigning European champions Sanne Keizer/Madelein Meppelink of the Netherlands, Svetlana Kholomina/Nadezda Makroguzova of Russia and Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy.
As one coach put it, "Sanne and Madelein are a big, strong team. They played well in Warsaw and defeated Kerri and Brooke in Ostrava for the bronze medal."
The German men's team of Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler was listed by one coach as a "team to watch at the World Championships. Julius and Clemens could be the Doppler/Horst of 2019. The Austrians used the crowd to their advantage in Vienna at the 2017 worlds. And you know, all the German teams will take advantage of the crowd in Hamburg. Like Vienna, the crowds will be electric, especially for host country teams on centre court."
Other men's teams to watch in Vienna per the coaches will be the Chilean Grimalt cousins (Esteban and Marco), Italian Rio 2016 silver medal winners Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai and Russians Ilya Leshukov/Konstantin Semenov.