Grant Goldschmidt has been representing South Africa in international beach volleyball for 17 years and, after competing at the Olympics, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and the Commonwealth Games, there aren’t many things that he still considers to be unique and special in his career.
Cape Town heroes Goldschmidt and Williams honoured by home event
The veteran South Africans are excited to compete in their hometown this week
Published 01:34, 04 Nov 2022
This week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in his hometown Cape Town is an exception.
The 39-year-old Goldschmidt paired with Freedom Chiya ten years ago to finish 19th at the 2012 London Games. He has remained active since then and although his international appearances have become more limited since 2019, he’s still largely considered the country’s top player alongside partner Leo Williams, 36.
This week, the two South Africans, who are both Cape Town natives, have the rare opportunity to play in front of their fans in the festive atmosphere that has been created at the iconic Grand Parade.
“It’s really good for us and our country that the event is here,” he told Volleyball World. “We always have to travel so far to experience these top events and we, athletes, are normally the only ones to do it. This time everyone is so excited about it.”
This week’s event marks the return of international beach volleyball to Cape Town after 17 years - the last tournament held in the city was an FIVB World Tour stop back in 2005.
Goldschmidt is the only one among the 80 athletes competing at the Grand Parade to have appeared in that event. Aged 22 at the time, he played in the first international event of his career alongside Jerome Fredericks and ranked 25th.
“I was very young at the time,” he recalled. “I have been able to play in other events in South Africa (Durban in 2013, and Mangaung in 2014) after that, but it’s really special to have the tournament back here in Cape Town.”
He and Williams finished ninth at the Commonwealth Games just three months ago. They dropped their first match in Cape Town, falling to Italians Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava in two sets (15-21, 11-21) on Thursday in Pool D.
They will be back on the court on Friday, however, to face France’s Arthur Canet and Téo Rotar and the Netherlands’ Stefan Boermans and Matthew Immers, but more important than any result they could earn this week is the pride of having a Beach Pro Tour Elite16 event in their hometown and the potential benefits it could bring to beach volleyball not only in their country, but their continent.
“It’s such an honour to play in front of our home fans and friends,” Williams remarked. “It’s amazing to have an event in South Africa after such a long time and we hope that it keeps coming back and that we can grow from here. I’m sure our national team players will end the week with a lot of important lessons after playing the best in the world. The more we play at this level, the sooner Africa will be able to improve.”