2019-08-25 18:03:00 CEST

Home victory for Samoilovs and Smedins

The Latvians won the World Tour three-star event in Jurmala

Samoilovs and Smedins topped the podium in their home sand of Jurmala (Photocredit: FIVB)Samoilovs and Smedins topped the podium in their home sand of Jurmala (Photocredit: FIVB)

Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins continue on recovery mode as after struggling at the start of the 2019 World Tour season the veterans secured their second-straight gold medal, this one at the men-only three-star tournament event in Jurmala, the first ever held in Latvian soil.

Samoilovs, nicknamed the Lion King, and Smedins, a bronze medalist of the London 2012 Olympics, ended their perfect week in their home sand, which saw they win all their six matches without dropping any sets, with a 23-21, 21-14 gold medal match triumph over Estonia’s Kusti Nolvak and Mart Tiisaar.

Last week they had won a four-star tournament in Moscow.

"We’re feeling a little bit tired because in Russia we put out our best performance and then in this tournament, today was very tough," Smedins commented. "We felt a little slow and physically not very good and our serves didn’t work as we planned it. The Estonians played a perfect first set to 20-17 when they were leading and it was amazing how we could come back and win it. We didn’t show our best game but we were fighting and the crowd was cheering for us, we just pushed ourselves to the maximum." 

Belarus’ Aliaksandr Dziadkou and Pavel Piatrushka completed the all-European podium in Jurmala after they downed Germans Armin Dollinger and Eric Stadie 21-19, 21-16 in the bronze medal match.

Chinese win in Zhongwei

The women-only two star event in Zhongwei also had a home winner as Chinese Jingzhe Wang and Shuhui Wen won their fifth World Tour gold medal in six events together with a 21-17, 13-21, 15-13 victory over Japan’s Miki Ishii and Sayaka Mizoe.

The host country also had the upper hand against continental rivals Japan in the bronze medal match as Chunxia Chen and Lingdi Zhu defeated Yurika Sakaguchi and Chiyo Suzuki 21-13, 21-16 to complete the podium.

Japanese and Dutch prevail in Rwanda

Teams from Japan and the Netherlands triumphed in Rwanda (Photocredit: FIVB)Teams from Japan and the Netherlands triumphed in Rwanda (Photocredit: FIVB)

In Africa, Rwanda hosted a World Tour event for the first time with the city of Rubavu staging a one-star tournament which saw tandems from Japan and the Netherlands triumph. The men’s title went to Japan’s Masato Kurasaka and Kensuke Shoji, who prevailed over Denmark’s Nicolai Hovmann and Jacob Stormly in the final. English Bello brothers Joaquim and Luis took bronze.

Among the women, the Netherlands stepped at the top of the podium with the team of Iris Reinders and Mexime van Driel claiming gold. The female tournament also had a Danish team winning silver - Cecilie Olsen/Signe Zibrandtsen - and an English duo securing bronze – Jessica Grimson/Victoria Palmer.

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