Apeldoorn, Netherlands, June 28, 2015 – The last time these two Latvian beach volleyball stars Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Martins Plavins played together was the 2008 Beijing Olympics but they are having an impromptu reunion in Apeldoorn this week, competing in the internationally-televised $1,000,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships the Netherlands 2015.
Featuring the world’s best players, this global biannual tournament is being anchored in The Hague, with pool play and three elimination rounds also being played in Amsterdam, Apeldoorn and Rotterdam.
A total of 48 women’s and 48 men’s teams have been split into 12 four-team pools for three rounds of pool play with plenty of promising matchups in 144 group matches among 12, four-team pools with three pools per gender in each city.TOGETHER AGAIN
With Samoilovs regular partner Janis Smedins out with a knee injury, Plavins agreed to rejoin his two-time fellow Olympian in time for just a few practices together before heading to the Netherlands.
Competing in a pool in Apeldoorn, Samoilovs/Plavins are enjoying their unexpected reunion, starting the round robin portion of the FIVB World Championships with two straight two-set victories over teams from Russia and host country Netherlands.
On Saturday, the team that finished ninth in Beijing by opening pool play by stunning USA’s eventual Olympic champions Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers in straight sets, Latvia’s Samoilovs/Plavins defeated Russia’s Yaroslav Koshkarev/Dimitri Barsouk, 21-18, 24-22 in 38 minutes. The Latvian duo backed that victory up Sunday with another two-set win, this one over Netherlands own popular Michael van Dorsten/Steven Van de Velde, 21-17, 23-21 in 37 minutes.A LITTLE LATVIAN HISTORY
Together, Latvia’s Samoilovs/Plavins, both now 30 years old, not only finished ninth in the 2008 Olympics, they also won the gold medal as youngsters in the 2005 FIVB U21 World Championships.
In the 2012 London Olympics, Plavins teamed with J. Smedins to win the bronze medal and Samoilovs finished ninth in London playing with Ruslans Sorokins.
Both say that this reunion is just a ‘summer vacation’ and Samoilovs reports that he and J. Smedins will be reunited for the balance of the 2015 FIVB World Tour starting right after the FIVB World Championships at the Swatch FIVB Gstaad Major in Switzerland.
After their team’s pool play win on Sunday, Samoilovs, called the Latvian lion king because of his hairstyle and style of play, said, “It was a great match, the Dutch guys played really good powerful volleyball with a lot of attacks, strong attacks with an aggressive serve and for the people that came to the stadium were cheering for them, I think it was really a great show. We feel amazing because we won our second match in the pool and after tomorrow we play our last match. We feel good, we came together after eight years break and we didn't expect how it will go because when you are eight years together you need to find this partnership again so it's going well and I hope we can continue improving with every match.”NEXT UP
Latvia’s Samoilovs/Plavins will play their third and final pool play match on Tuesday at 5 p.m. against Chile’s 19th-seeded cousins Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt at the Apeldoorn Market Square stadium.FORMAT
With a total of 96 tandems (48 in each gender), two-person teams are competing for part of a $1 million purse as the Netherlands hosts an FIVB international event for the sixth consecutive year. Anchored in The Hague round-robin Pool Play is being played in The Hague, Amsterdam, Apeldoorn and Rotterdam along with the first three rounds of elimination play for the 32 teams remaining per gender following three rounds of pool play. There are three pools (12 teams) from each gender in each city for the three rounds of pool play. For the 32 teams that advance to the single-elimination rounds, a Drawing of Lots will be held Tuesday in The Hague to determine the bracket draw and the venue for each team. The winner’s of each pool will remain in the cities where they have been playing through the quarterfinals.
The three elimination rounds through the quarterfinals will be held in each of the four participating cities. The quarterfinal winners in each gender will move to The Hague after Thursday’s matches. The women’s semifinals will be on Friday and the women’s medal matches will be held on Saturday. The men’s semifinals will be played Saturday and the men’s medal matches will be played on Sunday. PURSE
The gold medal winning teams in each gender will earn $70,000 while the silver medalists will take home $52,000 with the bronze medalists netting $40,000 with $30,000 going to the fourth place finishers.VENUE
All matches in Apeldoorn are being played on Market Square. A purpose-built stadium with a capacity of 2,000 seats has been erected on the atmospheric square in the city centre. Market Square is overlooked by the modern town hall and is surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants.