FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Antalya Open | 20 - 25 October 2015


Press release

Samoilovs and Smedins spread their love for beach volleyball around the world

Latvia's Janis Smedins (left) and Aleksandrs Samoilovs and their beach camp fans

Antalya, Turkey, October 22, 2015 – Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins are popular everywhere they go and usually you will see some Latvian fans on the stands with the national flag cheering for them, but in Antalya a group of about thirty very loud fans appeared to support the top seeded Latvians during their first pool play match at the FIVB World Tour Antalya Open.

“We organize training camps for amateurs and beginners”, Samoilovs explained. “So these fans here are participants of the training camp we had last week, about 70 kilometres from Antalya.”

The training camps are a project ‘Team Samoilovs-Smedins’ started a year ago. They have organized four camps this year, in January in Egypt, Dubai in March, Mallorca at the end of September and Turkey in October.

“We have five coaches at the camps, our fathers, me, Janis and Janis’ brother Toms”, Samoilovs continued. “We have participants from eight different countries. In Turkey we had people from Latvia, but also from Norway and Russia.”

Asked about his motivation for these camps, he said: “I am a huge fan of beach volleyball and I want to spread my knowledge. And our fan base is growing rapidly because of these camps. After they spent ten days with us they are a hundred percent fan. Also this is what I like to do when I finish my professional beach volleyball career.”

Their first match in Antalya was not a perfect example on how to play beach volleyball. Samoilovs and Smedins struggled a bit in the second set against Czech qualifiers David Kufa and David Lenc, but eventually won 2-1 (21-15, 21-23, 15-8).

“For the fans it’s better if it is a close match, more interesting to watch”, Samoilovs joked. “But it wasn’t our aim to do this. It’s been a long season. We have had one tournament after the other for one and a half month with long flights. It started with Long Beach, Poland, Rio, Sochi, then Mallorca and China. And after that we were so tired.”

The Latvians returned home with three medals; gold in Rio and Sochi and bronze in China, but all the travelling took it’s toll on Smedins. “Janis was ill for one week. And it was very cold in Latvia so we didn’t practice together for two and a half weeks. Yesterday we wanted to have a practice match but it rained so hard we cancelled. So this was our first match since a long time. We tried to play our normal game with fastballs and second balls. But after the second set we decided to just play simple and improve from there. And that’s what we will do in the tournament.”

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