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Latvia’s Head of State hosts CEV President in Riga

From left to right: the President of the Volleyball Federation of Latvia, Atis Sausnitis, Latvia’s Head of State Andris Berzins, CEV President André Meyer and CEV Board member and Volleyball Federation of Latvia Vice-President Maris Pekalis
Riga, Latvia, August 30, 2014 – At a time when the first major international tournament is being held in a country that has become a centre of beach volleyball, CEV President André Meyer is paying a visit to Latvia. On Saturday, with the action continuing at Majori Beach in Jurmala, Meyer had the opportunity to meet with Latvia’s Head of State, Andris Berzins, and with the Lord Mayor of Riga, Nils Usakovs. 

Meyer and Berzins enjoyed the opportunity to talk about the CEV Satellite tournament which is being hosted this week at Latvia’s most popular seaside resort in Jurmala, and whose venue was visited by the CEV President earlier in the day. It was also a good occasion to discuss the status and future development of volleyball and beach volleyball in Latvia, as well as the role the country can play in the international arena. 
Meyer recalled the excellent results achieved by Latvia’s beach volleyball players, who have become a force to be reckoned with in recent years. Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins won last year’s FIVB World Tour and are two-time silver medallists from the CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship. On top of this, Smedins was a bronze-medal winner at the London Olympics in 2012 together with former partner Martins Plavins, thereby accounting for one of two medals won by Latvia at the last Summer Games. 

Berzins shared memories from the time he played volleyball and emphasized that the sport is developing very fast in Latvia, expressing his hope that the young stars in the making will bring even more success to Latvian volleyball and the country’s sports family. Berzins also said that Latvia’s beach volleyball and volleyball stars have become de facto ambassadors for their home country on the global stage. 

Meyer and the Mayor of Riga discussed the possibility of organising next year’s CEV U18 Beach Volleyball European Championship in Latvia’s capital city. They also identified possible means and strategies to further support the development and promotion of volleyball in Latvia’s largest city. 

The CEV President recalled that he is paying his second visit to Latvia but the first time to coincide with a major event like the CEV Satellite tournament in Jurmala. 
“I think Latvia can organise high-level competitions in the near future,” he stated. “The next step would be the organisation of a Masters tournament and if the Volleyball Federation of Latvia comes forward with such a project and submits its application, the CEV will be glad to discuss their plans. We have already started discussions on this with President Sausnitis, but these were only informal talks for the time being. I hope the Volleyball Federation of Latvia will continue to build on the excellent work they have accomplished so far, because they are doing a great job.”

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