Lausanne, Switzerland, December 30, 2018 – If the beach volleyball world didn’t know Anders Mol at the start of the year, it certainly did at the end.
The 21-year-old Norwegian and his partner Christian Sorum, 22, ended the year top of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Rankings, gold medallists at the Hamburg 2018 FIVB World Tour Finals, double FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medallists and European champions.
Such were Mol’s performances in 2018 that he won four prizes at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Awards. He was named Most Outstanding Player, Best Blocker, Most Improved Player and Best Offensive Player, while Sorum won the Best Defensive Player award.
“I'm very proud, it is such an honour,” Mol said. “It gives me a lot to work on and I know what I have to do to continue improving.”
The pair’s success nearly didn’t happen. Following the Doha 4-Star tournament at the start of March they didn’t then appear on the World Tour until the end of April when they reached the quarterfinals at the Xiamen 4-Star.
The break proved exactly what the duo needed and a month after their return they won their first World Tour medal with silver at the Itapema 4-Star which was the spark they needed to fuel their belief.
“We were kind of doubting the season right there, really angry we didn’t play as good as we did before,” said Mol after winning Hamburg 2018 gold.
“We found our way and now we’ve won four tournaments in a row and the four most important tournaments of the year. It has been a crazy month, but it is fantastic to be paid for the job we do.”
Mol and Sorum’s success is certainly no accident. They are part of the Norwegian Volleyball Federation’s ‘Beach Vikings’ programme that was set up to ensure the best training and funding for a select group of players.
The hope is that they will eventually qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and join the ranks of Norway’s most popular sportsmen.
The qualifying window for Tokyo 2020 opened on September 1 and will run to June 14, 2020 with the top 15 sides in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Rankings qualifying automatically. Mol and Sorum have begun their quest to reach the Olympics in fine style by winning their first gold of the 2018-19 season at the Las Vegas 4-Star.
“We want to play good in each tournament, but we don’t always expect to play on Sundays (gold medal match day),” Mol told p1440.com after victory in Las Vegas.
“We always expect a tough match and that has been our mind-set because it is never easy to win and it is never perfect.
“We have a very good indoor beach volleyball facility at our training centre in Norway and that is where we’ve been practicing a lot. We also travel a lot to Spain to practice with the best teams there.”