Vienna, Austria, August 2, 2017 – After two and a half successful seasons alongside Reinder Nummerdor, highlighted by the silver medal they won in the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, Dutch Christiaan Varenhorst is repeating the same strategy as the 27-year-old blocker is competing in the 2017 edition of the tournament with Marteen Van Garderen.
As Nummerdor was, Van Garderen is a former indoor player from the Netherlands national team who transitioned to the beach. However, unlike the now-retired star, who already had eight years of experience in the sands when he joined Varenhorst, his new partner made his beach volleyball debut less than three months ago, in the Rio de Janeiro stop of the FIVB World Tour.
Considering the short time of partnership, the team is performing surprisingly well in Vienna as the Dutch finished second in Pool D with two wins and one loss.
“It’s been hard for him to take a step back,” Van Garderen said. “He spent a lot of energy on our new partnership. I have a lot of respect with how he is dealing with the situation. In the past we lost some matches badly and I was struggling playing in the sand and he kept being positive and that made a huge difference. It’s kind of crazy that after two and half months we are playing like this in the World Championships.”
Varenhorst, though, prefers to share the credits with their coaching staff, which has been working hard on Van Garderen’s transition since he moved to the beach.
“It’s mostly the coaching staff telling us what the preparations are and what we can do on the rest days,” he said. “I’m only on court communicating with him specifically about the game plan. The coaches are doing a fantastic job; he is picking it up so fast, it’s unbelievable.”
The Dutch team will be put on test this Thursday, when they play top-seeded Brazilians Alvaro Filho and Saymon Barbosa at 13:30 (local time) in the Round of 32.