Nausch Sluková could go to the Olympics for the fourth time in two years.

Beach volleyball player Markéta Nausch Sluková is returning to top sport after giving birth in June. She formed a new pair with the former captain of the Czech national team, Helena Havelková, who ended her career in six-ball volleyball in the spring due to the transition to sand. Together, they would like to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Nausch Sluková could go to the Olympics for the fourth time in two years. In London 2012, she finished fifth with Kristýna Kolocová, in Rio de Janeiro 2016 with Barbora Hermannová, after a short collaboration, they were eliminated before the gates of the round of 16. Their highlight should have been last year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, where they arrived, but due to the coronavirus, the Nausch Sluks did not participate in the competition. The thirty-four-year-old player then announced a one-year break, saying that she wanted to start a family. She gave birth to a daughter, Maya, in mid-June.
Havelková, who is the same age, has a career as an elite sweeper in six-person volleyball. The child from Liberec worked in Italy, Russia, Turkey, Poland or exotic Shanghai. She decided to switch to the sand in order to have hope of fulfilling her Olympic dream, which is unrealistic with the six-person team. Since the spring, she has been preparing individually under the guidance of Simon Nausch, Sluková’s husband, who will train the new couple.  Volleyball players could appear together for the first time at tournaments in the fall. “We have several scenarios. We are focusing on November, when there are various tournaments. There are also two challengers in Dubai in October. If the girls can do it super fast, then October, but November seems more realistic,” said coach Nausch.
Coach Nausch believes in this joint project. “If we qualify for Paris, it will be something that no one has ever done before. It’s never happened that a postpartum girl and a six player who has never played beach volleyball have qualified together,” he said.  He has experience from past Olympic cycles that a possible slower entry into the qualification period means nothing. “If it goes well, they will play at a level for a year to qualify from the rankings. But they are both mentally very strong to handle the last-minute qualification,” he said. Points for the Olympic ranking will start to be collected in January 2023, the twelve best tournaments are counted. The ranking closes at the beginning of June 2024.
JK

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