Latvian stars Aleksandrs Samoilovs & Janis Smedins will represent the home country in the men’s main draw of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Jurmala Challenge event set to take place next week, from June 15 through 18. They will be among a number of top-calibre teams and players to spark excitement among the beach volleyball fans by the Baltic Sea at the fourth Challenge event of the 2023 season.
· Watch the Beach Pro Tour Jurmala Challenge live on VBTV.
Samoilovs & Smedins are one of the most successful European teams in the sport’s history. 38-year-old Samoilovs, nicknamed the Lion King, is hoping to qualify for his fourth Olympic appearance next year at Paris 2024. 35-year-old Smedins has played at “only” two Olympics so far, but earned a bronze medal at London 2012. The two have played together for over 10 years now. They were three-time FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour season champions and five-time European Championship finalists, winning the continental title in 2015 and four silver medals.
It is the currently reigning European champions, however, that lead the Jurmala list on entry points. 21-year-old Swedish jump-setters David Ahman & Jonatan Hellvig, number two in the FIVB World Ranking, headline the impressive line-up of 16 duos seeded directly into the 24-team men’s main draw. They will be looking for their seventh Beach Pro Tour medal. In 2023 alone, Ahman & Hellvig have already been on two podiums, including the one at the Tepic Elite16 with gold.