World Tour leaders featured Sunday on Copacabana


Laura Ludwig (second from right) at the Olympic technical meeting Friday with Swiss rivals Isabelle Forrer (second from left) and Anouk Vergé-Dépré (left).

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 6, 2016 - The second day of Beach Volleyball competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will feature the top men’s and women’s teams on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour as Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia and Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst of Germany will play their match here Sunday.

Gold medal winners at last week’s SWATCH Major Series stop in Klagenfurt, Austria, Samoilovs and Smedins will playing Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk of Canada in Sunday’s final match at midnight as the two teams will be meeting for the eighth-time international.  Saxton and Schalk lead the series 4-3, but the Latvians defeated the Canadians in the semi-finals of the A1 Major Klagenfurt before topping a team from Brazil in the finals.

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While Samoilovs is competing in his third Olympics with his third different partner, Smedins will be seeking a return to a Summer Games podium after capturing the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Martins Plavins.  Samoilovs and Plavins competed in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games where the Latvians placed ninth.

Ludwig and Walkenhorst, who have won final gold medals on the 2015-2016 FIVB calendar, play Doaa Elghobashy and Nada Meawad of Egypt in the final match of the early evening session Sunday.  The Egyptian pair earned a spot in the Rio Olympic Games by winning the African confederation Continental Cup competition.

Also playing their first Olympic match Sunday will be host country favorites Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca and Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg.  The Olympics’ top women’s seed, Talita and Larissa will be challenged by Ekaterina Birlova and Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia.  The match will be the third between the two teams internationally with the Brazilians winning both meetings.  The Russians earned the final Copacabana berth at the FIVB Continental Cup Finals last month in Sochi.

Evandro and Pedro Solberg will face a stiff challenge from Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez of Cuba, the NORCECA confederation Continental Cup winners.  The Brazilians have played Diaz and Gonzalez once before in an elimination match at the 2015 FIVB World Championships with Evandro and Pedro winning in three sets.


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