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2018-03-04 18:28:00 CET

Latvians back to the podium in #FTLMajor

Samoilovs and Smedins prevail in the bronze medal match in Florida to start the season strong

Smedins and Samoilovs reached the podium in the first Beach Major Series event of the yearSmedins and Samoilovs reached the podium in the first Beach Major Series event of the year

Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins were missing the podium in the World Tour in 2017, but their wait is over as the Latvian won the bronze medal of the 2018 Fort Lauderdale Major after a 21-17, 21-17 win over Brazil’s Pedro Solberg and George Wanderley at the Red Bull Beach Arena.

The bronze medal in the first Beach Major Series tournament of the year marked their return to the podium in international competition since they were third in Long Beach in August 2016, right after the Olympics.

“It’s perfect,” Smedins commented. “Last season we had some injuries and we weren’t in our best shape. We wanted to prove ourselves and to come back stronger this winter, so we had three tough months on camp and here is the result. We didn’t make many mistakes and they gave us some points in the end of both sets and that was the difference.”

WE DID IT! Victory in the final #FTLMajor game and bronze medals for us! #SAMSME 🏐🏐🏐 @smscredit.lv @betsafe @btalatvija @venden_latvija @lidolv @citysportlatvia @jurmalalv @best4sporttv @baker_nutrition @volejbolslv @semarahhotels @sportlandlv @lattelecomlv

464 Likes, 11 Comments - Samoilovs Smedins (@samoilovssmedins) on Instagram: "WE DID IT! Victory in the final #FTLMajor game and bronze medals for us! #SAMSME 🏐🏐🏐 @smscredit.lv..."

The unusual strong start motivates the Latvians to the remainder of the season. The three-time Olympian Samoilovs is looking forward to more medals after the bronze in the #FTLMajor.

“It feels great,” he said. “We traditionally start the seasons slowly and even in our most successful years, we never got a medal in the first tournament. It’s really important to do that, especially on a Beach Major Series event. We feel we are where we should be. It was a good week and we only lost to the two finalists.”

Smedins and Pedro battle in the net during the bronze medal matchSmedins and Pedro battle in the net during the bronze medal match

The setback in the bronze medal match made the Brazilians leave Fort Lauderdale empty-handed after a long week, which started on qualification on Wednesday. The frustration was all over Pedro’s post-match comments.

“Fourth place is okay, but I feel like we missed a good opportunity to end a great week on a high,” he told us. “We played well during the entire week, but today it just didn’t happen. They have a much better energy than we did and they deserved to win.”

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