The Hague, Netherlands, March 5, 2015 - Jasper Bouter (18) and Tom van Steenis (18) are the youngest participants by far in this Friday’s wild card tournament for Dutch players hoping to qualify for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships The Netherlands 2015. "We will do everything in our power to get that ticket," said Bouter.
Last year, you finished fourth at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships. Are you ready to compete at the highest level now?
Jasper Bouter: "Needless to say, it is our ambition to compete in the World Championships at some point, but that may also be in two or four years from now. We have played in youth tournaments abroad and in the Dutch Premier League before, but that does not compare to the World Championships. The wild card tournament is a unique opportunity to place ourselves for the World Championships right away. Experience-wise, the opportunity would be priceless. I do not see us as favourites, but it only takes three wins to secure a World Champs ticket. We will do everything in our power to get that ticket."How did you prepare for this tournament?
Jasper Bouter: "We had a week-long training camp in Tenerife in ideal conditions. We were able to play a lot of matches against peers from France, Spain and Austria. A training camp like that is always a valuable experience, not least to help us to grow as a team. There are no distractions like school and you can talk about nothing but beach volleyball, all week."It wouldn’t be the first time you surprised us at an important time…
Jasper Bouter: "At the U19 World Championships, we never thought we would get that far. We lost in the qualifications, but we were still able to participate as lucky losers. We didn’t even play well in the group stage, but we made it. Then, surprisingly, we won against a top Brazilian team. It is a shame we didn’t make the podium, but what we achieved there has given us a lot of confidence."What does the rest of this season look like for you?
Jasper Bouter: "There are a number of international tournaments we would love to participate in. The European U20 Championships are an important goal this summer, because there we will have the opportunity to qualify for the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in 2016. We also hope to play a number of tournaments in the Dutch Premier League, and there too we may be able to secure a wild card for the World Championships. That is a trickier route because there will be multiple events counting towards qualification, which means we have to play well for a longer period of time. As a young team, we still have a lot of ups and downs."If not on the court, will we see you in the stands during the World Championships?
Jasper Bouter: "If we are not playing any tournaments abroad, I’ll be there. I would like to see as many matches as possible. As a beach volleyball player, the World Championships in the Netherlands are something that cannot be missed!"