Latvian pair’s month in the sun
Whatever else happens in the sporting lives of Latvia’s Martins
Plavins and Janis Smedins, it seems unlikely there will be
anything to match the events of August 2012 – a month that
brought them bronze medals at the London Olympics followed
by their first FIVB SWATCH World Tour gold medals at the Stare
Jablonki Mazury Orlen Grand Slam.
For Plavins, 27, this dizzying whirl of success was “amazing”. Speaking
after the Mazurly Open final win over Austria’s Clemens Doppler and
Alexander Horst, he said: “At the last two tournaments we didn’t
expect anything, but at the Olympics we finished with the bronze and
here we won our first World Tour gold.”
The pair were seeded 17th at the Olympics but took the first of
Latvia’s two medals at the London Games – the other was a gold for
Ma- ris Štrombergs on BMX – and a congratulatory phone call from
national president Andris Berzins as they left centre court at Horse
Guards Parade following their bronze-medal match triumph over the
Netherlands’ Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil.
“We saw a Latvian [Ineta Radevica] finish fourth in the long jump last
night and she missed bronze by a few centimetres,” said Smedins, 26,
after the 19-21, 21-19, 15-11 win over Nummerdor/Schuil in front of
15,000 people. “We don’t get too many medals for Latvia, so there
was a lot of pressure.”
‘We don’t get too
many medals for
Latvia, so there was
a lot of pressure’