Itapema, Brazil, May 16, 2019 – Sanne Keizer is a veteran at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. The 34-year-old defender has represented the Netherlands in five editions of the tournament, but when she enters the Rothenbaum in Hamburg at the end of June, it could very well feel like the first time for her.
Keizer first featured among the sport’s elite in 2005, when Germany first hosted the event, in Berlin. On that occasion, she and partner Marrit Leenstra finished 17th. Two years later, the team took 37th place in Gstaad.
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Keizer competed in the next three editions of the event with Marleen van Iersel, with a fifth-place finish in Stavanger 2009 their best finish, but missed the most recent editions as she took a few seasons off after the birth of twins Puk and Kees.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” the Dutch defender said. “I missed playing every second while I was out. I watched as many matches as I could in the 2015 edition, which was in the Netherlands. I played with a couple of different partners and I didn’t really perform as well as I would have liked, so I don’t have the best memories. I think it’s time to build newer and better ones in Hamburg.”
Keizer returned to the sport in 2018 and, since, has enjoyed a fair amount of success alongside Madelein Meppelink. The duo has collected nine top-ten finishes in 15 World Tour events, including a silver and a bronze medal, and, most notably, won the 2018 European Championships at home in The Hague.
That puts them in contention for a medal in Hamburg in a few weeks.
“It was such a challenge to come back and see where we were at in the international level,” added Keizer. “We managed to get our game to a solid level towards the end of the season, especially in the European Championships and Vienna. If we compete the way we should, we can get to the final.”
Since her return, Keizer has noticed several changes in the World Tour, both on and off the courts. As a student of the game and a mother of two, she tries her best to stay updated on every detail around her. Her change from blocking to defense was a reflection of that.
“A lot has changed,” she said. “The sport is highly professional now and the players are taller, stronger and faster. Everyone is more well-rounded and that forced me to change too. Luckily we have a large coaching staff and all of them are tracking every movement of our opponents, which helps up to identify where we need to improve.”