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2017-07-14 13:48:00 CEST

Making The Team: Borger/Kozuch finally join in

World Champs wildcards given the chance to compete

A World Championships wildcard makes Maggie (left) and Karla smile. Photocredit: Hans HerbigA World Championships wildcard makes Maggie (left) and Karla smile. Photocredit: Hans Herbig

Karla Borger was sitting on a bench next to the side courts in Poreč with an impish grin. “The last time I cheered for Laura was at the Olympic Games,” she explained. A second later, she jumped up ecstatically for the Olympic champion, who had teamed up with her partner - Maggie Kozuch - at the Poreč Major. The partnership was a result of Kira Walkenhorst being injured and unable to participate, but at least one of them was able to start at the Major event.

“Me playing here has been extremely important for our team”, says Maggie. “I need as much practice as possible.” The Champions League winner and indoor national player switched to the sand at the beginning of this season. Maggie knew very well that the change would be challenging for her. “I did not expect to deal with so much more that has nothing to do with the sport,” she tells us. 

In Rio, The Hague, Poreč and at Gstaad Major, the new team was unable to compete, because the German federation nominated alongside Ludwig/Walkenhorst, Laboureur/Sude and Bieneck/Schneider the national team Großner/Glenzke. One nation can only get four spots. When talking points, Borger/Kozuch have been team number four, but they are not recognized as a national team. They have been in conflict with the German federation because they build up their own infrastructure with their own coaches at Tenerife – and did not use the new training center in Hamburg, which the German federation implemented this season.

Maggie gets her words heard

“It’s ok to have national teams and no national teams,” Maggie says. “For me, it is just important to get a fair chance to fight for our spot and not just being forced to accept a political decision. Therefore, it would be essential for us that the federation allows the country quota.” 

Maggie’s words are heard: At the four-star event in Olsztyn, Poland, the last FIVB tournament before the Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 start, German women will play country quota for the first time this season on the World Tour, says German vice president beach volleyball Andreas Künkler.

He said: “We will play in the country quota in Poland to get experience with the new country quota system of the FIVB and to get feedback of the teams concerning that. More teams should get the chance to present themselves at the highest international level.”

However, Karla and Maggie won’t be involved in the country quota in Poland because they are already in the main draw, as Ludwig/Walkenhorst will skip this tournament. That means Karla is happy to dive and spike in the sand again – in contrast to Poreč where she worked as a ball kid on the Red Bull Beach Arena. “That was more challenging than I thought before,” she tells us. “You have to watch like a hawk all the time.”

Karla and Maggie in action at the Fort Lauderdale Major, where they started in the main draw after receiving a wildcard. Credit: Dave McMahamKarla and Maggie in action at the Fort Lauderdale Major, where they started in the main draw after receiving a wildcard. Credit: Dave McMaham

Wildcard for the best event ever

Although Karla did a great job in Poreč, it would be a total waste not to see the qualities of the 2013 World Championships silver medalist on the beach volleyball court. That’s one of the reasons why Borger/Kozuch received a wildcard for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 in Vienna – and they are extremely happy about that. “I am sure this World Championships on Danube Island will be one of the best events we ever had in beach volleyball,” Karla says. There will be an explosive fight for the victory in the Pool as Borger/Kozuch will meet their fellow Germans Ludwig/Walkenhorst and Großner/Glenzke in Pool D.

Auch, wenn man sie nicht mitspielen lässt, @karlaborger findet schon Wege auf den Center Court #PorecMajor #überqualifiziert #neueperspektive @beachteamborgerkozuch @swatchmajorseries

30 Likes, 3 Comments - Ninja Priesterjahn (@ninjas_welt) on Instagram: "Auch, wenn man sie nicht mitspielen lässt, @karlaborger findet schon Wege auf den Center Court..."

Karla and Maggie want to prove themselves and they want to stop the frustrating situation with the federation. Therefore Borger/Kozuch will practice this week for the first time at the Olympic Training Centre in Hamburg. “It’s a test to see how we can approach the best way possible without losing our already working structures,” Karla explains. “We are looking forward to some days of productive work, we have a World Championships coming soon and we want to be prepared the best way possible.”

Borger/Kozuch also hope for some positive discussions in Hamburg to improve their situation. That’s also, what vice president Künkler hopes: “It’s our goal to get the team Borger/Kozuch enthusiastic about the possibilities in Hamburg and to persuade them to become part of the national team program in the next season.”

And maybe this will be the start for the new team to finally join in playing regularly at Swatch Major Series events.

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