DrThe height of the athletic year, the Olympic Games in Tokyo, was a low point for her. Beach volleyball players Carla Burger and Julia Soda have now capped an impressive second half of the season with their biggest success yet: victories in the World Tour final on Sunday night in the port of Cagliari, Italy. The win was awarded a prize money of $150,000.
For the athletes competing for the DJK TuSA 06 Düsseldorf, it was their third major success after a surprise bronze medal at the European Championships in Vienna and a silver medal at the German Championships after they missed the Olympics finals. “After the disappointment in Tokyo, we decided to focus more on ourselves and find ourselves together in the sand again. This of course adds something on top of that,” said 34-year-old Julia Sodi.
They didn’t give world champions Sara Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes any chance of winning the final 2-0 (21:13, 23:21). They lost their last five matches against the Canadians, the most bitter defeat perhaps the last in Tokyo – and now the revenge is working. On their way to the final, they had already defeated Olympic champion Alex Kleinman and April Ross of the United States and world number one Agatha Duda of Brazil, to the surprise of many.
“It was a huge honor for us to qualify for the World Tour Final here. And now we are standing here on sand with a trophy in our hands. Unbelievable,” said 32-year-old Carla Burger, with tears in her eyes. The unexpected victory at the end of a physically and mentally draining season freed both Feelings “We’ve had a tough season,” Julia Sodi said, referring to the past few months.
A day after the preliminary round in Tokyo, her former coach Thomas Kaczmarek ended the collaboration, with support from sports psychologist Nadine Volkmer — things have continued for both of them ever since. “You defeated the Olympic and world champions on your way to gold and worked hard for that title at the end of a difficult season,” said German Volleyball Federation President Rene Hecht: “An incredible success for the team and for German beach volleyball . . . “
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