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28/09/2017 07:43
Getting to know Nika Daalderop
2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women

Baku, Azerbaijan, September 28, 2017. The Dutch women`s volleyball team are fairly established on the international scene, but over the past summer there has been a new name appearing both in the team and on the court.  Nika Daalderop is only 18 years old but she has spent her summer of 2017 as part of the Netherlands women`s senior team.  Quite an accomplishment for a young player with only one professional season behind her. 

Prior to playing the 2016-2017 season at Ladies in Black AACHEN, Nika focused on Beach Volleyball where she has already had great success on the sand winning the 2015 and 2016 #EuroBeachVolleyU20 tournaments at the age of 16 and 17 respectively.

Celebrating success on the sand last summer in Antalya with partner Joy Stubbe

Despite this significant success with Beach Volleyball, her mind is now solely focused on achieving with the Dutch national team.  “All of the girls are really nice and make all of the younger girls in the team really welcome.  I like it to be in the team and am enjoying every moment.”

On comparing the two sports Nika went on to say “I see Beach Volleyball as more of a mental game which I personally like as you have to do it yourself.  There is no-one that can fill in for you.”  While looking at her chosen sport for the time being, Volleyball, she says “I find this to be faster and in some ways harder as more people are involved, and I also enjoy the extra power that you can generate by playing indoors.  There is no specific reason for me choosing Volleyball for now, only that I had the opportunity and wanted to see what it was like to be part of the national team.  I spent a lot of years thinking about what I should do and I have no regrets with my decision so far.”

Receiving service after starting the first pool match in Ganja

Nika is however clear that she is open about the future and expects to play professional Beach Volleyball at some point as she reflects on the transition saying “I would like to do both at some point in my career and I believe it is easier to go from Volleyball to Beach Volleyball than the other way round, but we will see.”

When she was younger, she confessed that she never really thought about playing Volleyball professionally, and was just doing it for fun for many years.  She also admitted to not really following the sport as a fan, but has seen it develop in the short time she has been involved in it.  She admits it has been a steep learning curve and is often learning about her opponents as the tournaments progress.

On looking back at her career highlights, she confesses that most of these come on the beach in Antalya and Larnaca with successive U20 European titles, although she was also part of the Dutch junior and youth national teams playing at a number of European Championships.

With partner Joy Stubbe in Larnaca with their mums

Nika is not the only Daalderop daughter who plays Volleyball, however when being asked the obvious question she explained they have only teamed up once in Beach Volleyball “which did not work out so well, as we ended up arguing quite a lot.  But if we did it now I think it would be better!”

Having graduated from high school, education is currently on hold to allow for a pure focus on reaching the top in her chosen sport, but Nika is already thinking of doing some studies around her training in the future - although she is not sure yet in which direction she wants to go.

Nika has won Talent of the Year 2015 and 2016 (Volleyball award, by Volleybalkrant) and also won the ‘Fanny’ for talent of the year 2016 in Amsterdam (out of all sports), a trophy named after the 4-time gold winning athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen of the 1948 London Olympics, something that she was clearly proud of. “These were based on my performance I did in Beach Volleyball, and maybe because I was achieving in both sports at the same time.  These awards mean a lot to me but I don’t like to pick one person out of the team as everyone need to do their job for the team to succeed.”

Attacking against Serbia at EuroVolleyW

Next season she plays her club Volleyball at Allianz MTV STUTTGART and looks forward to testing her level on the European stage in the 2017 CEV Volleyball Cup, stating “this will be good for more experience and seeing the level of our team and the competition.  It is nice to have both the Bundesliga and the European Cups to compete in and we will see how it goes.”

Nika talked with much fondness about the World Championship European Qualification 3rd Round held in Rotterdam where she was regularly part of the starting six.  However when looking at the European Championship, Nika was quick to congratulate Anne Buijs who is playing well.  She continued to say “I keep training hard and am ready to play, but there are so many people who can play in my position and the team is doing well, so that is the most important thing.”

When asked about her future aspirations, Nika was clear she is happy to go with the flow for now and see how things go but admitted that answer may change over the years.  What is for sure is that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is firmly in her sights.

 

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28/09/2017 09:00:00
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27/09/2017 21:10:00
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