Lion King roars way to victory

Rio de Janeiro, August 7, 2016 – Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs began their Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games campaign by beating Canada’s Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton 2-1 (21-17, 18-21, 15-13) at the Copacabana Beach Arena on Sunday. 

Here’s what they said after the match….

Aleksandrs Samoilovs, Latvia
“I feel so happy for the fans who stayed till 1am. They came and watched and I think they enjoyed it. 

“You are not thinking, you’re just concentrating. I closed my eyes and thought about the small details. You’re not thinking about if you lose. 

“We were down so they had more pressure. If you’re down, you just concentrate. Sometimes when you are in front it is harder because you’re looking back.

“At the beginning that so many fans were cheering for Canada. When we came onto the court it was so loud, but when Canada arrived it was double. 

“It is really tough. To have Cuba as the fourth team in our pool is not the best draw and Brazil with Pedro (Salgado) who is from Rio. It is a tough pool so it was a really important win for us.”

Chaim Schalk, Canada
“They are a really good team and we go to three with them a lot. First set we were getting our feet out, but then we were solid in the second set and controlled the match well after that besides the very end when they took it from us.

“All the teams are of a really high level and everyone is of a same level. We’ll have to grind it out and get a couple of wins here. For us it is about playing one game at a time.”


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