The beach volleyball players Cinja Tillmann and Svenja Müller have recorded the greatest success of their careers so far in the shadow of a drama.
At the World Championships in Rome, the duo from Hamburg and Düsseldorf won bronze – because the Swiss Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre had to retire in the match for third place due to an apparently serious shoulder injury to Heidrich.
Tillmann/Müller had lost the first set 16:21, in the second they were 7:10 behind the former European champions when Heidrich was injured on a serve. The 30-year-old screamed in pain, even during the minute-long treatment in the sand.
Paramedics and the shocked Tillmann/Müller rushed over immediately, and a privacy screen was set up. It didn’t go any further, the small final had to be stopped.
Second German Women’s World Championship medal after Ludwig/Walkenhorst
In the semifinals on Saturday, the experienced Tillmann (30) and top talent Müller (21) lost against Sophie Bukovec and Brandie Wilkerson from Canada 12:15 in the decisive third set.
On Sunday, at least on paper, the second German women’s World Cup medal was finally available: in 2017 in Vienna, the Rio Olympic champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst had won gold.
Bad mood in Rome
Müller and Tillmann have only been together for a year and a half. At the tournament in Rome, they were the bright spot in an overall disappointing German team. Among others, Karla Borger and Julia Sude, who came third at the European Championships, were eliminated in the round of 16.
The athletes complained about the lack of atmosphere in the Foro Italico. “So in the preliminary round of the 2019 World Cup in Hamburg, there was more going on in the stadium than now in the finals in Rome… It’s a shame for the athletes who made it this far,” wrote Borger on Twitter on Sunday.