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02/08/2013 15:00
Getting to know: Dutch gentle giant Michiel van Dorsten
2013 CEV A1 Beach Volleyball European Championship Final presented by checkrobin.com

Klagenfurt, Austria, August 2, 2013. Together with his countryman Christiaan Varenhorst, Michiel van Dorsten shares the record for the tallest player competing at the 2013 CEV A1 Beach Volleyball European Championship Final. Standing at 212 cm, a shoe size of 48, weighing 100 kg, the 26-year old looks very impressive and like a real wall for any opponent out there.  

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Actually he is a very nice and down-to-earth guy, a little shy but friendly at the same time. He switched only this past January to Beach Volleyball after playing indoor for the likes of Dynamo Apeldoorn, a team that has regularly participated in the European Cups. A middle-blocker and opposite, depending on the needs of his side, Michiel got injured twice and did soon realize a change was needed in order to avoid any other stop in his career. A friend invited him to try with Beach Volleyball and he soon was admitted into the elite program of the Dutch Volleyball Federation (Nevobo). “I have been playing with many different partners but the plan is to stay with Daan (Spijkers) up to the end of the season. Once this comes to a close, we will review what we have accomplished and start planning for the future, with my main goal being to compete at the 2015 World Championship that will take place in the Netherlands” he says.

In what was his first appearance at the European Championship, van Dorsten was not that successful for he and partner Spijkers lost all of their matches in pool play failing to make it to the single elimination. However, they have been together for such a short time that you just can’t expect more. Spijkers is a silver medallist from last year’s European Championship but his former partner Emiel Boersma retired after the Olympic season and he started searching for somebody to team up with in the quadrennial leading up to Rio 2016. “Some weeks ago I played at the World Championship in Poland together with Tim Oude Elferink while Daan competed there alongside Christiaan Varenhorst. Their partnership just did not work and our coaches decided to let us try it out. Next week we are travelling to Berlin; we are still in the waiting list for the Grand Slam but with a bit of luck, if some teams withdraw, we will get the right to play. We need as many matches as possible to find the right chemistry and improve on what we have already achieved in a short time”.

With Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen having won gold at the World Champs in Poland, Beach Volleyball has drawn additional attention in the Netherlands and with The Hague – together with three more cities – hosting the 2015 edition, Michiel is convinced that he has made the right choice. “We work very professionally and have great assistance from our coaches and the medical staff. We hope that the world title won by Alex and Robert will help us get more money and sponsors so as to develop the sport even more”.

Klagenfurt is known as the place to be for any Beach Volleyball player. Michiel is happy he could finally get to see it first-hand after reading many articles and listening to many stories about Austria’s largest sandbox. “I only regret that we did not have the chance to play in the centre court before that amazing crowd. But I am planning to come back next year and I do hope by then I’ll be good enough to play there”. Watch out for this “gentle giant” on his way to make Beach Volleyball the centre of his life… 

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