2016-07-31 17:48:00 CET
Latvians light up Klagenfurt in countdown to Copacabana
The Lion King might have roared his way to another gold on Klagenfurt sand but the Latvian was quick to hail the performance of his teammate Janis Smedins as the pair won the A1 Major Klagenfurt.
Birthday boy Smedins scooped the coveted player of the tournament prize as well as gold, as he and Samoilovs battered Brazilians Guto/Saymon in a one-sided final in Carinthia.
“Did you see the semifinal? I was standing in the middle of the court setting and he was doing all the work!” grinned Samoilovs. “He played great. Throughout the tournament we did well and stayed consistent despite losing the last pool match.”
Smedins added to his collection of medals – and the team now have a complete set of first, second and third places in Swatch Major Series events over the past 12 months. Good work lads!
“I’m happy to win here at this tournament because the crowd is so amazing,” said Janis. “You can’t put into the words the feeling…you really just have to be on the court to experience it. It’s so special.”
Samoilovs and Smedins took no prisoners in both the semifinal and final and Janis thought that definitely showed in the showpiece finale.
“They are two young players who are playing some very good beach volleyball and with a bit more experience they will be great.
“Sometimes they hit the ball out a few times and that made it easier for us. Perhaps they began to think too much and we were able to block and play defense.
“But we are very happy to beat them – especially in the second set when they had the lead.”
The most striking stat of the Latvian’s success this week was that four of their five elimination round victories came against fellow teams heading for the Copacabana.
“That’s how it should be,” said the Lion King. “Every team is preparing to be the best for the weeks ahead and everyone needs to be in good shape.
“We prepared by coming to Klagenfurt. We needed to play well this week and we will need to play even better in Brazil.”