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01/06/2016 19:04
Kvamsdal/Sørum on a mission to raise the profile of Beach Volleyball in Norway
2016 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship - Final

Biel / Bienne, Switzerland, June 1, 2016. Norway’s Morten Kvamsdal and Christian Sandlie Sørum upset the Swiss fans on Wednesday late afternoon when the first round of pool play came to a close for the men’s tournament of the 2016 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship Final in Biel / Bienne. Kvamsdal/Sørum lived up to their status of rising power – they have performed well also on the World Tour this year – edging Philip Gabathuler/Mirco Gerson by coming from behind after dropping the opening set (18-21, 21-14, 15-10).

The 2016 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship Final is being extensively covered on the CEV website (click here) as well as on all CEV social media pages; a comprehensive live gallery of the competition is available here while additional information can be found on the organisers’ website

At 20 years of age, Sørum is the younger member of the Norwegian tandem but he already has quite some experience from playing on the international stage and back in 2014 he even won gold at the U22 European Championships in Turkey. He is trying to complete his transition to the senior level and seems to know very well what he has to work on: “I believe you just have to keep on working hard, and do this each and every day, not only when you are playing matches but especially when you practice,” he said.

As with many other up-and-coming players from Norway, Christian attended the high-school run under the programme Top Volleyball Norge (TVN), where the most talented players of the Scandinavian country are ‘grown’: “It was a great opportunity for me as I could combine my school duties with a focus on Volleyball and Beach Volleyball. I had a Japanese-born coach there, Haruya Indo, and he was instrumental to my personal development as we worked a lot together, especially on the technique. He taught me the importance of hard work and of being focussed in everything I do.”

At 26 Kvamsdal is the more experienced of the two; he also attended that same school: “This is where most of the current players of the national team, and this applies to indoor Volleyball as well, come from,” he said. “There is a number of very good players right now in Norway and some got offers to play abroad or have been playing abroad already. Some of these guys still play Beach Volleyball as well, and are pretty good at it too, like for instance Jonas Kvalen and Andreas Takvam.”

Norway is the country where some of the real Beach Volleyball pioneers come from, like for instance Bjorn Maaseide, Jan Kvalheim, Jorre Kjemperud and Vegard Hoidalen. These are all names that have contributed to writing the history of Beach Volleyball in Europe and are known globally as well. However, after these guys retired Norway struggled a bit to produce players of that same level and profile.

“Actually, though we have to pay tribute to what these guys did, I think that Beach Volleyball has developed and evolved quite a lot since their times,” Kvamsdal said. “And now we have a new generation of young players who are coming up pretty strong, as you can see from the results that Norway has achieved at international age-group competitions in recent times,” he added.

Later this month Norway and more specifically the city of Stavanger will be playing host to the final stage of the CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup. Kvamsdal and Sørum do not know yet if they will perform there but their mind-set is very clear. “Of course we would love to play there because it is always a great thing to play at home before your own fans,” Kvamsdal said. “As a team we have been doing well so far, working a lot during the winter season and now we start achieving the results we have worked for. We are pretty confident with our side-out and this is what happened today in our match with the Swiss guys. We did not start that good, but in the second set we sided out almost all the time whilst they started making mistakes and giving away some points, so in the end our game plan paid off.”

With regard to Stavanger and the Continental Cup Final, Kvamsdal said: “I think that playing at home will add some extra pressure. Back in 2012 Norway won the Continental Cup in Turkey and qualified a team for the Olympics [Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr played at London 2012] and of course we do hope to use the home advantage to repeat the same feat and qualify a team for Rio.”

And such result would definitely help further raise the profile of Volleyball and Beach Volleyball in Norway. “It is all about winning,” Kvamsdal said. “The more you win, the more visibility you get. We can learn from what has happened in our country after Magnus Carlsen became the world’s top chess player. The whole country kind of stops and everybody watches his games on TV, even students at school. This game was not popular at all in Norway before he rose to such level of fame, so this means that we have to do something similar if we want for Beach Volleyball to be more in the spotlight.”

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