2017-06-06 16:34:00 CEST

More Than Sports: “We had to fight our way from the very bottom”

Poreč Major Champions Laboureur/Sude want to defend their title

Last year, Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude achieved an extraordinary feat at the Poreč Major. They started the tournament in the qualification and ended up at the top of the podium. The two German beach volleyball players had to rebook their flight because when planning their journey to Poreč they expected themselves to be eliminated much earlier.

Talking with us, they reveal where they store the gold medal from Poreč, why they will have lots of Austrian fans at the World Championships in Vienna and which character attributes help them on their way to success.

On their way up: Chantal Laboureur (left) and Julia Sude. Photocredit: Martin SteinthalerOn their way up: Chantal Laboureur (left) and Julia Sude. Photocredit: Martin Steinthaler

Swatch Major Series: Chantal, Julia, since winning gold at the Poreč Major you have played in five semifinals out of 10 tournaments. Have you now changed your habits concerning the booking of your return flights? 

Chantal Laboureur: Yes indeed! Because of our results, we collected lots of points, overtook some German teams and now do not have to play country quota or qualification any more. That means we can enjoy the tournament a little more and do not have to plan with a second option when failing in qualification. Therefore, we are more optimistic. Now we plan with the best result possible and book the return flight mostly for Sundays.

SMS: That makes the whole travel plan for the season a little more comfortable, is that right?

Chantal: Absolutely! The whole planning of the season and the practice period is easier because of that. To be in the main draw for sure is a big benefit for all the working, a lot of people put in us over the last years. For us, personally, this development means a lot, because we had to fight our way from the very bottom to the top and invested a lot.

SMS: You are number three in the FIVB World ranking at the moment. However, the German federation did not name you officially as national team until now. Do you think that will change in the near future?

Chantal: We are in reasonable conversations with the federation. We give our best on the court, so we are quite positive about that. 

SMS: The gold medal from Poreč Major was the first for the both of you on the FIVB World Tour. Does it have a special place somewhere at your home?  

Julia Sude: Yes, she is shimmering at my desk, motivating me each day to get a second one. This experience has been a highlight for us, unfortunately it was over so fast. By the way, the gold medal party still has to be celebrated!

A little party on the court after winning gold at Poreč Major. Photocredit: Martin SteinthalerA little party on the court after winning gold at Poreč Major. Photocredit: Martin Steinthaler

SMS: You have a new coach this season, Ricardo Brunale de Andrade (‘Vento’) – what kind of fresh impetus he is giving to you? 

Julia: He is Brazilian through and through. He loves this sport and is very emotional. He tries to integrate this passion and joy for beach volleyball into our game. Plus, he is raising our awareness for the little things in important situations, which can make the difference in winning or losing.

SMS: Chantal, besides being a beach volleyball professional, you study medicine. Do you often travel with your books? 

Chantal: At the moment I am in my seventh semester. During practice camps or in the early season I sometimes have my studies with me, but during the summer I do less to concentrate on 100 per cent on beach volleyball.

SMS: Chantal is always on fire when playing, buy you seem to be the oasis of tranquility, Julia. How do you manage to be that chilled?  

Julia: Ha! Chantal really has lots of energy. It’s incredible, but that’s why we are such a good team. I think I have a genetic basis for being easy from my parents. Nothing ever will make them lose their calm. They are solid as a rock – and so am I.

SMS: What are you especially looking forward to this season? 

Chantal: The World Championships are without a doubt the absolute highlight this season. My mother is Austrian and she has already rounded up the whole family to be in Vienna, so that we can hope for a big support there. However, one highlight is chasing another in August: after the World Championships it’s the European Championships and then the Swatch World Your Finals in Hamburg. But we are also looking forward to our reunion with Poreč. I am sure going back there means lots of emotions and memories will come flooding back.

SMS: What is your goal for Poreč Major in June? 

Julia: Forecasts are always difficult in beach volleyball. This year, we start from a totally different position. We are not the underdogs anymore and, after the Olympics, we have lots of new teams, so it is very exciting. For sure we will do all that we can, to bring medal again from Poreč to Germany!

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