Lausanne, Switzerland, January 14, 2019 - While there was no FIVB action on the sand last week at the start of a six-week break on World Tour, international beach volleyball news was occurring in Germany with the retirement of Olympic and world champion Kira Walkenhorst that led to the reshuffling of teams.
It is now up to the 29-year old Chantal Laboureur to secure a new partner for the 2018-2019 season after her former partner Julia Sude decided to play with Karla Borger, who was seeking a new alliance when former teammate Maggie Kozuch joined forces with Laura Ludwig following the announcement by the 28-year old Walkenhorst due to ongoing injuries.
Over the past four international campaigns spanning 50 events, Sude and Laboureur were ranked 10th, third, fourth and fifth in season FIVB World Tour points with two gold medals, nine podium placements and 11 final four finishes together.
Germany, without Walkenhorst and Ludwig competing, had seven women’s teams combine to net 11 podium placements during the 2017-2018 campaign. The team of Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider did not win a medal last season, but the German pair never finished lower than ninth in 10 FIVB World Tour events together with two fourth-place finishes.
In addition to Laboureur/Sude (two silvers and one bronze) and Borger/Kozuch (one bronze), other German women’s teams netting podium placements last season were Teresa Mersmann/Cinja Tillmann (two golds), Anna Behlen/Sarah Schneider (one gold and one bronze), Schneider/Viktoria Seeber (one gold), Kim Behrens/Sandra Ittlinger (one silver) and Schneider/Tillman (one silver).
Teresa Mersmann (left) and Cinja Tillmann won gold at Tokyo in July last year
The 2018-2019 FIVB World Tour schedule started at the end of August 2018 in Hungary with the first qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the start of September in France. With 10 men’s and nine women’s tournaments completed, the current season calendar will feature 41 men’s and 42 women’s events highlighted by the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Germany from June 28 through July 7 at Hamburg.
The international beach volleyball circuit is scheduled to visit 49 sites in 32 countries over a thirteen-month period spanning from August 2018 to September 2019. Events will be played within all five confederations (African, Asian, European, North American, and South American), offering more than US$7-million in prize money.
After the month and a half break, the FIVB World Tour resumes for women in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from February 21-24 followed by at least one event every weekend through mid-June. A double-gender tournament in Visakhapatnam, India is set for (February 27-March 2) followed by events in Australia (Sydney, March 6-10, double gender) and Cambodia (Kg Speu, March 7-10, men only).