The year was 2008 when the Netherlands last climbed the podium of the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 Women’s World Championship. It was a final that saw two Dutch pairs playing in Brighton, England, where Marleen van Iersel & Danielle Remmers prevailed against Sophie van Gestel & Michelle Stiekema.

That gold medal winning moment has been revived by Desy Poiesz & Brecht Piersma in Roi-Et, Thailand, after beating Leona Kernen & Annique Niederhauser 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) in the final and giving back that glory to their country after 15 years.

The Dutch duo got their revenge on the Swiss pair who beat them in three sets in pool play. On Sunday, they swept both their matches to grab the gold.


The Netherlands' Brecht Piersma

“It was amazing. We had a bit of struggle this week because we both got sick, so I’m very happy that we are standing here and still playing. The people around here and the place are so amazing. They have been very kind and I have never been to a place with such an excellent organization,” Piersma said.


The Netherlands' Desy Poiesz

“I have no words. We started the week really sick, and we were on IV. So, we didn’t have good preparation, but still we kept fighting. We kept going until we got into the finals. At that point we said, this is all really good and we’re going to give everything for the last moment. And we did it,” Poiesz said.

“Now that I know that it’s been a long time since we have won gold in this tournament, I feel proud of our achievements here. We are not in the same level as our Dutch predecessors, but we are working on it. And this is the first step towards that, to have a more beautiful future.”

In their semifinal match, the Dutch duo cruised to a straight-set victory, logging a 21-16 first set victory followed by a dominant 21-7 triumph in the second frame against Poland’s Malgorzata Ciezkowska & Urszula Lunio.


Poland’s Malgorzata Ciezkowska & Urszula Lunio

Meanwhile, with the Thai crowd rooting for the lone Asian squad fighting for a medal at the U21 World Championships, the chants of ‘jia you’ inspired China’s Yan X./Zhou M. L. to start off strong with a 21-17 win in their bronze medal encounter against Poland’s Ciezkowska/Lunio.

In the second set, the Polish pair regained their composure, forcing a tiebreaker with a 21-18 second set victory. They jumped to a 3-0 start in the third set but play had to be stopped as Yan winced in pain before retiring in the match and conceding the bronze medal to Poland.

Poland’s third place win in the U21 Women’s World Championship is the second bronze medal for the nation since Monika Brzostek/Karolina Sowala’s win in 2008 in Brighton, England. Poland have also won two gold medals in 2009 and 2013.