Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 21, 2016 - Two days after winning the men's Beach Volleyball bronze medal on iconic Copacabana, Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands were still "floating on a cloud" after reaching the podium at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In three days, the "float" trip will take Brouwer and Meeuwsen back home to The Netherlands where the pair will join other Olympic medal winners from their country in meeting King Willem-Alexander at The Royal Palace of Amsterdam situated on Dam Square in the center of Amsterdam.
Quick links - Beach volleyball:
Kerri Walsh Jennings
Due to the meeting, Brouwer and Meeuwsen will be missing this week's final FIVB World Tour event prior to the season-ending event in Canada where the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals will be held in Toronto September 13-18 featuring the top eight men's and women's team on the international ranking list with a maximum of two per country along with four "wild card" entries per gender.
"It has been a long and grueling season," said Brouwer here Saturday afternoon while watching his country's women's team compete against the United States for a bronze medal in Volleyball. “We are hopeful to be in Toronto for the finals. As bronze medal winners in the Olympics and 2013 FIVB world champions, we should at least get a wild card."
Brouwer and Meeuwsen, who are still "floating on air" after posting a 2-0 (23-21, 24-22) bronze medal victory in 46 minutes
over Russia’s Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov late Thursday evening, are currently No. 8 (4,190 points) on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals ranking list with Rio 2016 Olympic gold medal winners Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil in the ninth position (4,140).
Alexander Brouwer (left) and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands with their bronze medals
With the Brazilians scheduled to play in the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball event starting Tuesday in the United States while the Dutchmen are meeting the "King", Alison and Bruno will pick up 160 points with their first serve at the event in southern California at Long Beach to move ahead of Brouwer and Meeuwsen on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals ranking list.
"With the Brazilians playing, we are now hoping for the wild card," said the 26-year old Brouwer, who has been competing with Meeuwsen since 2011 as the pair have posted a 6-1 match mark in the Rio Olympic competition with their only setback being a 2-1 (17-21, 23-21, 14-16) in a 56-minute semi-final match
to eventual gold medal winners Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil.
“It was a great experience for our country,” added Brouwer about his three-week stay in Rio. “Our world champs’ gold medal in 2013 was already a big step in Beach Volleyball. By hosting the world champs last year was another big step. I think this (winning the bronze medal) is the next big step forward for Beach Volleyball in the Netherlands.”
Meeuwsen, who was slowed by knee problems in 2014, said “the European Championships is still one where we want to get a medal. This is an amazing feeling. To win gold at a world champs and now bronze here. Later on we will look forward and will look for higher goals again.”
Enroute to winning the Copacabana bronze, Brouwer and Meeuwsen had to eliminate compatriots Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst from the Rio competition. “That was a tough match as we both wanted to win really badly,” said Brouwer. “We have the same coaches, we trained together and we planned for the Olympics together. It was certainly an emotional match for both teams as we both wanted to win and play for a medal.”
With Nummerdor and Varenhorst dropping their final Pool E match, the pair dropped into the lower half of the bracket where Alison and Bruno also fell into after finishing second in Pool A. By both teams finishing second in their group, their spot in the 16-team elimination rounds was determined by a draw.
After ousting Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera of Spain in the first round of elimination, the top-seeded Alison and Bruno eliminated third-seeded Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena of the United States 2-1 (21-14, 12-21, 15-9) in a 45-minute match impacted by the wind where the Brazilians had the advantage throughout the third set.
Alexander Brouwer shaking handles with Dutch rival Reinder Nummerdor after the Rio quarterfinal match
In the last match between the two teams, Nummerdor and Varenhorst eliminated their training partners in two sets during the quarter-finals of the Moscow Grand Slam at the end. Nummerdor and Varenhorst went on to win FIVB World Tour stop in the Russian capital by defeating Alison and Bruno in the finals.
While Brouwer and Meeuwsen welcome the time off in the coming weeks along with their Tuesday meeting with the King, the Dutch pair still has one goal in the coming weeks. “Competing and winning the US$100,000 first-place prize in Toronto is on our list goals,” said Brouwer. “Now, we sit and wait to determine our fate to compete in the finals. I feel we have the credentials.”