Young Danes happy with European Games experience, set sight on Tokyo Olympics
2015 European Games
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 20, 2015. Though on Saturday morning they missed out on a spot in the quarter-finals after losing to Aliaksandr Kavalenka and Aliaksandr Dziadkou of Belarus (18-21, 16-21), Denmark’s Peter Kildegaard and Kristoffer Abell definitely left their mark on the men’s Beach Volleyball tournament of the first ever European Games. They indeed had finished pool play on top of their group and for such young team – like for many others competing at the Beach Arena in Azerbaijan’s capital – the Games are a lifetime experience and only the first stop of a journey that should ultimately take them to Tokyo 2020.
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When the two Vikings Peter Kildegaard and Kristoffer Abell took the court on Saturday morning it was a historic moment. The Danish pair and pool winners were indeed the first Beach Volleyball tandem from their country to have made it so far in an international competition of this calibre.
“Even though we lost the game against Belarus today we are extremely proud of what we have achieved in this European Games. We deserve our ninth place because we played hard to win the matches we got to play in our pool and it was not a matter of luck or anything like that. We really worked hard to make it to this stage of the competition and that is what we will take with us from this experience for our future endeavours,” Peter Kildegaard said.
The two young men, Kristoffer Abell (20) and Peter Kildegaard (24) started their career as indoor players and have both represented one of the most successful Volleyball clubs in their home country, IF Holte. However, two years ago they both decided that Beach Volleyball would be their future. There is only one small issue. They live far from each other. Kristoffer lives in Odense and Peter in the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen which accounts for some 240 km. But distance will not keep them apart they explain.
“We see each other on weekends for training together and in the meanwhile we train apart during the week. Of course this is not an option for the future but for now this is how it is. We don’t have that much money to travel the world to play on the World Tour and during the winter season we train indoors.” Still this year they already got to sense what the World Tour is all about, playing at the Lucerne Open and then also at the SWATCH Major Series in Porec, Croatia, on their way to the European Games.
The dream of participating in an Olympic Games is of course lingering in their heads. And their goal is crystal clear: “We are very young and we have to be realistic that Rio 2016 comes too soon. But we will definitely be in Tokyo. That’s for sure,” they agree.