2019-01-10 11:00:00 CEST
The sweep of change in German beach volleyball continues
The domino effect of Kira Walkenhorst’s retirement from beach volleyball has continued with the news that Julia Sude will leave teammate Chantal Laboureur and join forces with Karla Borger for the Olympic run for Tokyo 2020.
Sude and Laboureur enjoyed five strong years together on the sand, memorably winning their first gold medal at the 2016 Poreč Major. The pair then won a golden cowbell at the Gstaad Major in 2017. Their partnership ends with the team sitting sixth in the FIVB World Rankings.
With Maggie Kozuch partnering reigning Olympic and World Champion Laura Ludwig following Walkenhorst’s sad and premature departure from the beach, 30-year-old Borger jumped at the chance to play alongside childhood friend Sude.
“We used to play together in the sand as kids when we were out and about with beach volleyball with our parents, so it was finally time for us to come together as experienced players as a solid team,” said Borger, who won World Championship silver in 2013 with Britte Büthe.
The new duo are no strangers to each other on the sand having twice played in tournaments together at a young age, winning bronze at the European Under-23 Championships in Russia in 2009.
Sude added: “I am looking forward to the new adventure and, in addition to the Olympic qualification, we have the sporting goal of establishing ourselves in the top five in the world.”
The new team will be led by Julia’s father, Burkhard, known in Germany as ‘Mr Volleyball’. Borger/Sude have already begun training and are planning to make their World Tour debut at the four-star tournament in Xiamen in April.
As the news was released to the media, the future of Laboureur – who learned of the shake-up on her 29th birthday – remains uncertain but has vowed not to give up on reaching Tokyo next year.
“Julia told me a few days ago their decision and I cannot really understand the decision to split,” said the defender, who won eight gold medals with Sude on the World Tour. “In my opinion, we had great potential to achieve joint top results at this year's World Championships and the 2020 Olympics.
“It all came very suddenly. I'll think hard about how to move on. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a fighter, and I will not just give up on the dream of the Olympics.”