Mol and Sørum win European Champs
Jo Christian Weldingh
Anders Mol, 22, and Christian Sørum, 23, defended last year’s victory in the CEV EuroBeachVolley. With a solid performance, they beat the Russian duo Ilya Leshukov and Konstantin Semenov in CEV EuroBeachVolley 2019, Aug. 11 in Moscow and became European champions for the second year in a row. The Norwegian duo have shown great form lately and are seen as one of the biggest Norwegian medal hopes heading into next year’s Summer Olympics.
The Russians kept up with the Norwegians in the first half of the first set, but on the score 10-8, the Norwegians started playing the kind of beach volleyball that has made them the No. 1 ranked duo in the world. They won the first set 21-12. The second set was closer, but Leshukov and Semenov were trailing by two or three points the whole way through. It ended 21-18 in Mol and Sørum’s favor. Sørum had 14 spikes; Mol made 11 spikes and six blocks.
“I feel we were better than them in every aspect of the match today,” Mol told the Norwegian Volleyball Federation after the triumph. “I think it’s great that we were able to mobilize enough strength to win today. It’s a big moment,” he continued.
With a 2-0 sets victory, the Norwegians could once again lift a trophy over their heads after the mildly disappointing bronze medal in the World Championship earlier this year. In the wake of the World Championship, they have gone from one triumph to another, winning three big World Series events in a row, including the Trial Olympics in Tokyo.
Mol and Sørum won the semifinal against the Polish duo Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak. They lost the first set, 22-24, but they turned the match around when Kantor sprained his ankle, winning the game 2-1, winning the last two sets 21-17, 15-9. In seven matches in the tournament, they lost only two sets.
“It’s fun to be in a final again, but it’s with mixed emotions when it happens like this,” Sørum said then.
Mol and Sørum have played together since 2016. They reached the quarter final in the prestigious Klagenfurt Major tournament the same year but didn’t properly introduce themselves to the international Beach Volleyball audiences until last year, when they suddenly and quite unexpectedly, even for most Norwegians, started winning big tournaments.
Their big breakthrough came in July 2018 when they won the masters tournament in Gstaad, and then, a week later, their first CEV EuroBeachVolley in Holland, beating Latvia 2-1 in the final. After the victory, they became the top-ranked duo in the world, a position they have kept to this day, despite placing third in the World Championship.
The Norwegian duo has improved greatly in the last few years and their next big goal is the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The last time the Olympics were held in Tokyo, Norway came home without medals. Zero medals. If Mol and Sørum steer clear of injuries, they might be the heavy favorites to win Norway’s first-ever Olympic Beach Volleyball gold.
Jo Christian Weldingh grew up in Lillehammer, Norway, and lives in Oslo. He has a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from the University of Oslo and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from BI Norwegian Business School.
This article originally appeared in the September 6, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.