31/08/2014 18:30
Samoilovs and Smedins claim all-Latvian final to delight record crowd
2014 CEV Beach Volleyball Satellites - Jurmala

Jurmala, Latvia, August 31, 2014. More than 2,000 fans were in attendance on Sunday as the CEV Satellite in Jurmala reached its climax with an all-Latvian final which was eventually claimed by home heroes and two-time European silver medallists Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins. The atmosphere was just great in Latvia’s most popular seaside resort where the CEV Satellite came to a close with a standing ovation deserved by the audience to the home teams.

Actually the day did not start that good for the home teams as 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Martins Plavins and his partner Aleksandrs Solovejs lost to Aliaksandr Dziadkou and Aliaksandr Kavalenka of Belarus after five close sets (12-15, 15-13, 15-12, 18-20, 5-7). This way Plavins and Solovejs had to be content with seventh place in the final standing of the tournament. A similar result was achieved by Austria’s Thomas Kunert and Christoph Dressler who lost the other opening match of the day to Russia’s Maksim Khudyakov and Yury Bogatov (2:3; 15-13, 11-15, 14-16, 15-12, 3-7).

Khudyakov and Bogatov continued with their display of fine form as they claimed also their second match in the losers’ bracket cruising past Turkey’s Murat Giginoglu and Volkan Gögtepe (16-14, 15-11, 15-13) to move on to the semis. Dziadkou and Kavalenka claimed the last spot in the semis as they edged France’s Jean-Baptiste Daguerre and Yannick Salvetti in three sets as well (16-14, 16-14, 15-12).

The semis were also full of drama with two Latvian teams involved in the fight for a spot in the last act of the tournament. Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins delighted their fans with a real show of strength to rout Dziadkou/Kavalenka in three sets (15-13, 15-12, 15-11) but in the other semi-final Haralds Regza and Armands Abolins had to cope with the fierce resistance brought by Russia’s Bogatov and Khudyakov before they eventually moved on to the next stage of the competition (3:1; 15-10, 15-8, 16-18, 15-6).

Quite interestingly only teams from the Eastern European Volleyball Zonal Association (EEVZA) had made the final four in Jurmala, thereby making sure that all players starring on sand were well-known to the fans also from previous appearances in zonal tournaments held in Latvia. A Russian fan following Khudyakov and Bogatov from the stands admitted: “I did not expect so much support from the audience also for the foreign players. I can see that Latvians really love Beach Volleyball and they are truly fond of this sport.”

Yury Bogatov and Maksim Khudyakov completed their campaign in Jurmala with a fine performance in the bronze medal match where they edged Dziadkou/Kavalenka in three sets (15-13, 15-13, 17-15).

However, the real icing on the cake was provided by the gold medal match starring two teams from the host country. The cheers of the fans were heard all over Jurmala beach as loud ovations accompanied every single rally and each point scored by one of the home teams. Though they are much younger and rather inexperienced, Haralds Regza and Armands Abolins played with courage and almost stretched the final to a tie-break. However, the physically more imposing Samoilovs and Smedins hold on to their experience and quality to win the title with a hard-fought 3:1 victory (12-15, 15-12, 15-11, 15-13).

It was the first time such high-profile tournament was taking place in Latvia but the man behind the event, Andris Blaka, said in the end: “Beach Volleyball is the fastest growing sport in Latvia. I can proudly say that even basketball and soccer don’t have as many local and town championships as Beach Volleyball has. The citizens of Latvia are convinced that this is the sport that can carry the image of our country to the rest of the world, and we are very happy that with this first tournament we have made a step forward in this direction.”

The tournament was visited also by CEV President André Meyer during his visit to Latvia who spoke enthusiastically about the tournament also with Latvia’s Head of State Andris Berzins.

CEV Technical Supervisor Anton Fichtinger said at the end of the tournament: “It was an honour for me to be here and to work with the team of the local Organising Committee.”

The organisers, on the other hand, extend their gratitude to all sponsors and partners, to the players, and of course, also to the fans since tickets for the grand finale were sold out on Sunday.

Click here for more information or visit the official website

News nr. 2 of 11
01/09/2014 10:00:00
Amazing scenery of Jurmala beach captured by international referee candidate Martin Karner
30/08/2014 19:32:00
Two Latvian pairs move on straight to semis at Jurmala Satellite

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