#TuksVolleyball: Danilo von Ludwiger hopes to "spike" his way to the Paris 2024 Olympics in France

Posted on February 07, 2024

The word "spike" will undoubtedly impact Danilo von Ludwiger's life in 2024 when he is in the hospital or playing beach volleyball.  He is a sixth-year MBCHB student at Tuks. It means he spends a lot of his time in a hospital where a patient's temperature can spike at any moment. When it happens, he must come up with the correct diagnosis.

Looking at the bigger picture in his sports career, the Tuks student-athlete is hopeful that one day he will be an Olympian. One thing is certain: Von Ludwiger and his teammate Leo Williams will have to spike a lot to get to Paris, France. A spike is when a player forcefully hits the ball downward with the palm of his hand. If perfectly executed, it usually points on the board.

Last month, the South Africans nearly got it right. They only lost in the final against Mozambique's Ainadino Martinho and Jorge Monjane. Von Ludwiger and Williams are still qualified to compete at the 23rd African Games next month.

"The Games in Ghana will be a good opportunity to 'take stock'. Most African teams hoping to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics will be in action. So it will be good to play against them to assess their strengths and weaknesses."

Von Ludwiger and Williams are currently ranked as Africa's third-best beach volleyball combination. Jose Mondlane and Osvaldo Mungoi, also from Mozambique, are the top-ranked team. Botswana's Sekao Jac and George Chiswaniso are ranked second. Martinho and Monjane are ranked fourth.

According to Von Ludwiger, there is never any mercy when Africa's top four teams clash in the sand.

"On any given day, any team can win. So far, we have played Mozambique on four occasions. We share the spoils with two victories each. Of the six encounters against Botswana, we have won four. They have been victorious twice.

''The Continental Cup Tournament in June will be do or die for all teams aspiring to contest the Paris Games. The top 24 teams in Africa are competing. The team that wins is off to the Olympics. That is why Leo and I plan to go to Europe in May. It will be an excellent way to sharpen our skills."

Asked as to what he considers to be his best attribute as a player, the Tuks student said, "Things tend to get heated during a game. I love it when it happens. I am more focused and more energetic. It is a case of controlling my emotions and using the game's fire to my benefit."

It was Von Ludwiger's uncle who got him interested in volleyball.

"He was coaching volleyball. He scouted me during a 'family meeting'. Apart from a passion for the game and an understanding of the game, the most important thing my uncle taught me was that volleyball can never be more important than family and living life to the fullest.

"That is why I am glad I have decided to study to become a doctor. When I stop playing, I have something to fall back on. Over the last five years, I have learned that time management is paramount. If not for that, I would not have been able to abide by my life motto of working hard and playing even harder.

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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