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2016-10-11 09:39:00 CET

More than sports: With a little help from Britta

Love is when your ex is picking your new partner

Finding the right partner it not an easy thing. There isn’t much difference between beach volleyball and a romantic relationship. Therefore, the German Volleyball Federation is holding a speed dating session this week, where German beach volleyball players get to know each other on the sand.

One player who won’t be there, however, is Karla Borger. The 27-year-old has already found her partner. The 2013 World Championship silver medalist announced her new partnership with German indoor hero Margareta Kozuch, 29, last week. “I am so happy that the decision is made now,” Karla told us. Actually, Karla wanted to relax during her holiday in Costa Rica, but first of all, after years without a holiday, she had to remember exactly how that works. But despite that, she couldn’t calm down, because she was excitingly awaiting the “Yes” from Maggie. “Once I received the positive answer she sent to me, I had to put down my cell phone because my hands got so clammy,” she said.

Maggie: “Dear Karla, I am in. I would be happy to be your beach partner” Karla: “Oh Maggie, I am already in love with you!” Credit: Karla and Maggie.Maggie: “Dear Karla, I am in. I would be happy to be your beach partner” Karla: “Oh Maggie, I am already in love with you!” Credit: Karla and Maggie.

But how they found each other has a lot to do with Karla’s former partner Britta Büthe. When Britta played her last tournament, the German Championships at Timmendorfer Beach, she had already a feeling for the future: “When we entered the Center Court, Maggie was standing at the side of the court as spectator,” Karla explains. “And then Britta suddenly said: ‘Look, there’s your new partner’.”

Maggie Kozuch has already two titles in beach volleyball

Maggie and Karla didn’t know each other very well before. “One day we were talking about possible new partners for Karla and I put Maggie’s name in,” Britta explains. “To be honest, I don’t remember why exactly.” Maybe it was just a gut feeling that helped Maggie come back to the sand. In 2002 and 2004 she won the youth championships in her hometown of Hamburg. After that, the 1.88-meter-tall spiker didn’t take off her indoor shoes too often. “But somehow I always had a feeling inside of me that told me that I would like to play beach volleyball one day,” says Maggie. “Maybe I unknowingly lead myself to that way.” 

Maggie (left) wins the Hamburg Beach Championships in 2002. Photocredit: www.smash-hamburg.deMaggie (left) wins the Hamburg Beach Championships in 2002. Photocredit: www.smash-hamburg.de

When Maggie came to Timmendorf to watch some beach volleyball the word got around that she hadn’t signed a new contract. She won the Champions League with the Italian indoor club with Pomi Casalmaggiore last year but now she will wait and see what happens next. “I am trying to live for the moment. I am always open to new things,” Maggie says. When she went back to Italy, where she is living, she received a call from Karla. She weighed up the option and felt ready to start the adventure. “For me it is important that this decision is not against indoor but for beach,” she says.

Like Canada’s Sarah Pavan, who swapped indoor for the beach in 2013 – Maggie can imagine continuing playing indoor, for example in China, were the season is already under way before it ends in February. “That would be an option for me but it also depends what is best for our team,” she says. Maggie had already talked with clubs from China before Karla asked her to come to the sand. One of her favorites has been in Shanghai, where she played in 2014, but since last year, Sarah Pavan is playing there for Shanghai Guohua Life. “As Sarah renewed her contract early, it was clear that playing there was no option for me,” Maggie says. “Besides I have hardly no experience in beach volleyball, so I think it is very important to have the whole preparation for the sand.”

Maggie Kozuch has lots of talent. Photocredit: Gurkut Gursoy.Maggie Kozuch has lots of talent. Photocredit: Gurkut Gursoy.

Alexander Brouwer is going indoor

However, Dutchman Alexander Brouwer is doing it the other way around at the moment. After concentrating completely on beach volleyball he is playing indoor now for Inter Rijswijk in the highest League in Netherlands. He’s also just made himself his own Facebook page. “Without the large one,” he says. He is, of course, referring to his 2.07-meter-tall beach partner, Robert Meeuwsen. But don’t worry… “In February I will turn to the beach with Robbie,” promises Alex. After they won the bronze medal at Olympics in Rio, the pair aim to go all the way to Tokyo for the next Olympics in 2020.

Status Update

Alexander Brouwer. 668 likes · 30 talking about this. Official Facebook page of Olympic Beachvolleyball athlete Alexander Brouwer. Beachvolleyballteam...

Borger/Kozuch aren’t looking that far into the future at the moment. “If someone told me I can go to the Olympics, it would be amazing,” Maggie says. With her indoor team, she missed out qualifying three times. “But at the moment that is too far away from my thoughts. I firstly have to concentrate on my new tasks. We will see, where this new partnership is going to lead us.” 

Karla is optimistic: “I already fell in love with her. It’s perfect and the rest will come.”

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