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Latvia’s Smedins tops FIVB Beach Volleyball season awards with five

Janis Smedins (left) and Aleksandrs Samoilovs have had plenty to celebrate in 2013
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 23, 2013 – Latvia’s Janis Smedins capped a glorious 2013 season by winning five awards in the 2013 Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Beach Volleyball season awards.

Having won the 2013 FIVB Season’s Rankings with Aleksandrs Samoilovs, Smedins was selected as the 2013 Best Offensive Player, Best Setter, Best Hitter, Sportsman of the Year and combined with teammate Samoilovs honoured as the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball Team of the Year. 

Smedins, 26, burst onto the international scene with a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games and then followed up by winning his first Grand Slam gold medal with former teammate Martins Plavins, before changing partners to play with Samoilovs ahead of the 2013 season. 

“Last year was an incredible blur for me and this year was something even more special to remember because I didn’t have expectations like 2012,” Smedins said. 

“Aleksandrs and I make a good team and we were very, very focused this year and we were very pleased with three gold medals and six podium finishes overall in our first year in FIVB international competition. It is good to win these honours, but I play as part of a team and we want to represent our country well every time we step onto the sand.” 

The awards are chosen by players, coaches, referees and officials that participate on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.

Brazil’s Alvaro Filho rounded off a season in which he won silver at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and his first World Tour Grand Slam gold medal by claiming the Rookie of the Year and Most Improved Player. 

His fellow Brazilians Pedro Salgado and Bruno Schmidt each won an award; Salgado was voted blocker of the year and Schmidt was chosen as the Best Defensive Player to end a year in which they finished in second behind Smedins and Samoilovs in the Season Rankings. 

USA’s Beijing 2008 Olympic champion Phil Dalhausser claimed the Most Outstanding Player award for the second time after winning previously in 2010, while his compatriot Jacob Gibb was named Most Inspirational Player.  

2013 Men's FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour/FIVB Open Award Winners 
Most Outstanding 
Phil Dalhausser, United States  
Best Blocker 
Pedro Salgado, Brazil 
Best Defensive Player 
Bruno Oscar Schmidt, Brazil 
Best Hitter 
Janis Smedins, Latvia 
Best Offensive Player 
Janis Smedins, Latvia 
Best Setter 
Janis Smedins, Latvia 
Most Improved Player 
Alvaro Filho, Brazil 
Most Inspirational 
Jake Gibb, United States 
Janis Smedins, Latvia 
Top Rookie 
Alvaro Filho, Brazil 
Team of the Year 
Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs, Latvia 

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