2016-10-21 14:57:00 CEST

Ludwig crowned Queen of the beach!

German Swatch World Tour Finals champ takes top awards

The golden girls, Laura Ludwig (left) and Kira Walkenhorst. Photocredit: Joerg Mitter.The golden girls, Laura Ludwig (left) and Kira Walkenhorst. Photocredit: Joerg Mitter.

Laura Ludwig has had loads to celebrate over the past few months – and now she has extra cause to pop open the champagne after receiving two major end-of-season awards from the FIVB after a scintillating 2016.

Not content with completing a golden season with partner-in-crime on the court Kira Walkenhorst that saw the pair win Swatch World Tour Finals, Olympic, European and national tour gold, Laura also won the Most Outstanding Player and Sportswoman of the Year awards.

Ludwig scooped the prestigious prize of Sportswoman of the Year for the second year running after an incredible season on the sand. Teammate Kira’s efforts did not go unnoticed either as she was named Best Blocker. And rightly so, with an astonishing 125 blocks in the Swatch Major Series and Swatch World Tour Finals, no other player came close to matching Kira’s force at the net.

For the second year in a row Brazilian Larissa Franca was named Best Offensive Player and the Gstaad Major champion also scooped the Best Setter prize.

Rising star Duda won the Top Rookie award after a brilliant first season on the World Tour that saw the teenager win the Under-21 and Under-19 world titles.

The past season was a great one for Swiss beach volleyball, especially for Joana Heidrich and Nadine Zumkehr. The pair won silver at the Swatch World Tour Finals in Toronto before Nadine called time on her amazing career. Zumkehr received the Most Inspirational award while 24-year-old Joana, who will now partner Anouk Vergé -Dépré next season, was voted Most Improved Player.

It wouldn’t be an end-of-season awards list without Kerri Walsh Jennings’ name! And the legendary three-time Olympic champ, who also won bronze at this summer’s Games in Rio, finished the season by winning the Best Hitter award for the fifth time in her career.

And last and by no means least, Canadian Heather Bansley won the Best Defensive Player award for the second year running. Anyone who witnessed her star performance in the epic country quota victory over former teammate Sarah Pavan at the Swatch World Tour Finals would agree that Heather is the queen when it comes to digging and diving in defense mode.

Congrats to all the winners – now let’s bring on 2017!

Award winners:

Most Outstanding Player – Laura Ludwig (Germany)

Best Defensive Player – Heather Bansley (Canada)

Best Blocker – Kira Walkenhorst (Germany)

Best Offensive Player – Larissa Franca (Brazil)

Best Setter – Larissa Franca (Brazil)

Best Hitter – Kerri Walsh Jennings (United States)

Best Server – April Ross (United States)

Most Improved Player – Joana Heidrich (Switzerland)

Top Rookie – Eduarda Lisboa (Brazil)

Most Inspirational – Nadine Zumkehr (Switzerland)

Sportswoman – Laura Ludwig, Germany (Germany)

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