2018-07-21 22:08:00 CET
The Dutch veterans prevailed on their home soil to win their second continental titles
Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink had their run in the Swatch Major Gstaad cut short by Switzerland’s Nina Betschart and Tanja Hüberli, but they didn’t have to wait much for revenge. Just eight days later, the Dutch were the ones who had the fans behind them and they made the most of their local support to win the 2018 edition of the Beach Volleyball European Championships in the Hague.
The 33-year-old Keizer, who returned to beach volleyball less than a year ago after giving birth the twins Puk and Kees, and the 28-year-old Meppelink, who were just the 15th-seeded team in the event, dominated the Swiss duo to claim the gold medals in front of their fans after a 21-16, 26-24 victory in the final.
“It is such a big up winning the European Championship in your own country, it’s great,” Meppelink said. “We have played together for just half a year, so we are really happy with the progress we have made, but we are also experienced athletes, so we know it goes with ups and downs and we know that the downs will come as well. That is why you need to enjoy the ups even more.”
It was the second European title for the Dutch players as both of them had won the tournament before having Marleen van Iersel as partner – Keizer in 2012, in the Hague, and Meppelink in 2014, in Cagliari, Italy, where they defeated Hüberli and her former partner Tanja Goricanec in the gold medal match.
It was the third time a team from the Netherlands won the women’s gold medals of the European Championships. Nine nations have triumphed in 25 editions of the tournament and Germany has the most titles, eight.
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Czech stars Marketa Sluková and Barbora Hermannová finished third in the Hague after they triumphed by forfeit over Spain’s Liliana Fernández and Elsa Baquerizo. Liliana sustained a right-hand injury and had to leave the match during the second set.
The four semifinalist tandems will now have a week off before they head to Austria to take part in the A1 Major Vienna, from August 1-5.