20.05.2021 - Vienna, Austria
The amazing Vienna beach volleyball fans will have the opportunity of being part of the EuroBeachVolley for the first time this summer but the A1 CEV European Championships Vienna 2021 will feature a lot of veterans, including players who have long and successful journeys in the tournament.
With the start of the EuroBeachVolley dating back to 1993, some players who are expected to compete in Vienna in the 29th edition of the tournament have built a long and strong legacy in the event, so let’s highlight five of them:
When it comes to longevity, no one beats the legendary Austrian. Doppler first appeared in the EuroBeachVolley back in 2001 and he remains, 21 years later, as one of the top players in the continent. Now 40, the Austrian was 18 at the time of his debut in the event with Peter Gartmayer and still managed to finish fourth. He has appeared in 15 other editions of the tournament since then, having shared the court and won it twice, in 2003 with Nikolas Berger and in 2007 with Gartmayer. His list of accomplishments also includes a silver medal with Matthias Mellitzer in 2010 and a bronze medal with his current partner Alexander Horst in 2014.
A staple for Greek beach volleyball, the 36-year-old Arvaniti is the active woman with the oldest memories from the EuroBeachVolley as she first appeared in the tournament back in 2003, when she was just 18, with Efthalia Koutroumanidou. She claimed her first victory two years later with longtime partner Vasso Karadassiou and repeated it in 2007. A three-time Olympian, the left-handed Arvaniti also took silver in 2012, this time with Maria Tsiartsiani. The Greek legend appeared in 12 editions of the event between 2003 and 2016, when she took a break from her career to become a mother. She returned in 2019 and finished ninth with Penny Karagkouni.
If you’re looking for longevity and success, look no further than Laura Ludwig. One of the greatest stars of international beach volleyball, the German first competed against the best in the continent back in 2004. Since then, she missed just two editions, totaling 15 appearances in the EuroBeachVolley. Most impressively, the reigning Olympic champion has finished in the top ten in all but the first of them and is the woman with the most medals won at nine. Five of those came with Sara Goller – gold in 2008 and 2010, silver in 2007 and 2009 and bronze in 2011 – and the other four with Kira Walkenhorst – gold in 2015 and 2016 and bronze in 2013 and 2014.
Pablo Herrera was another Olympic medalist to debut in the EuroBeachVolley in the 2004 edition of the tournament, less than a month after he won silver at the Athens 2004 Games with Javier Bosma. He went to win gold in 2005 with Raul Mesa, which would become the second of the 16 appearances Herrera has already registered in the tournament. Now 38, the Spanish partnered with Adrian Gavira in 2009 and won a bronze medal in their first attempt. The two have remained together since then, playing in 11 editions of the tournament and winning gold in 2013 and bronze again in 2018.
Sanne Keizer’s first appearance in the EuroBeacVolley also happened in 2004, when she was only 19. She competed in six of the next nine editions and was part of the first Dutch women’s teams to top the podium as she took gold with Marleen van Iersel in 2012 after getting two fifths and a fourth in the previous three years. She took a break from the sport after the 2013 edition of the tournament and didn’t return until 2018. Her comeback, however, couldn’t have been any more remarkable as in the first season after transitioning from blocking to defense she secured another title, this time with Madelein Meppelink and in front of their home fans in The Hague.