Latvian pair beat Dutch duo for bronze and Latvia’s first medal of London
Janis Smedins (left) and Martins Plavins won Latvia's first medal of London 2012 when they won the bronze|
London, Great Britain, August 9, 2012 – Latvian duo Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins came from a set down to beat Dutch pair Richard Schuil and Reinder Nummerdor 19-21, 21-19, 15-11 in the bronze medal match at the London 2012 Olympic Games on Thursday.
The medal is Latvia’s first of the London Olympics and one of the first people to congratulate the pair was Latvian President Andris Berzins who phoned them as they were leaving court at Horse Guard’s Parade.
“He said we are young and that we have a big future,” Smedins said. “He wished us well for the future and said he’s very happy for us.
“It is just amazing. We saw a Latvian finish fourth in the long jump (Ineta Radevica) last night and she missed bronze by a few centimetres. We knew we had one more chance to win a medal for Latvia. We don’t get too many medals for Latvia, so there was a lot of pressure.”
From the start neither team was prepared to give any ground in the first set; both teams pushed each other hard throughout, but it was the Dutch pair who were the first to reach set point. They didn’t waste it and Schuil hammered in a shot that tied up the first set.
Nummerdor and Schuil kept up their momentum into the second set and quickly took control of proceedings. Latvia fought back though and won the set when Smedins blocked a Schuil shot at the net.
In the third set after both sides had stayed equal through the early part, the Latvians eventually took control of the set and after Schuil had saved one match point, a weak serve into the net by Nummerdor gave the Latvians the win and the bronze medal.