Latvians gain beach volleyball entry in FIVB World Tour record book


Two-time Olympian Martins Plavins bumps the Mikasa during a match in The Hague for new Latvian partner Edgars Tocs at the Dela Beach Open January 7 in their first event together.

Lausanne, Switzerland, January 14, 2018 - While Alix Klineman of the United States was making a splash on the international beach volleyball circuit by winning a gold medal in her first-ever FIVB World Tour appearance, Latvians Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs also entered their names in the record book by winning gold at the Dela Beach Open January 7 in their first event together.

After Klineman and Ross netted gold by defeating Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado 2-0 (21-15, 21-12) in the women's Dela Beach Open, Plavins and Tocs posted a 2-0 (21-14, 21-12) victory over Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland in the men's finale at the indoor arena at Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague.

The back-to-back gold medal wins by new teams marked the 30th and 31st-time that first-time pairs captured titles in their first-ever FIVB World Tour events together. It marked the 19th-time for men since the start of male competition in 1987 (372 events) and the 12th-time for women since the first female event in 1992 (336 events).

“I think after this tournament it will just get harder,” Plavins was quoted in the event's final recap. “We are still a new team and we will make a lot of mistakes, but this tournament we played really well and made no mistakes and got lucky sometimes, but we’re still happy we’ve won the final.”

The gold medal was Tocs' first in 20 World Tour appearances. “It was a perfect week,” said the 29-year old Tocs, who had posted a ninth with Rihards Finsters for his best previous FIVB World Tour finish at a November 2016 stop in Doha, Oatar.

A two-time Olympian with a bronze with Janis Smedins at the London 2012 Summer Games, the 32-year old Plavins has now won three gold medals with seven podium placements and 10 final four finishes in 129 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour starts since 2005.

A week after their gold medal performance in the Netherlands, Plavins and Tocs posted a bronze medal finish at the CEV Masters event in the Czech Republic as the Latvians won six of eight matches in the Pelhrimov stop. Plavins and Tocs posted a 2-0 (21-14, 21-19) win in the 33-minute third-place match over Austrians Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst.

In the men's Pelhrimov finale, Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands defeated Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak of Poland 2-0 (24-22, 22-20) in 41 minutes. The women's Pelhrimov event featured teams from the Czech Republic, Latvia and Finland.

Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilova of the Czech Republic defeated Tina Graudina/Anastasija Kravcenoka of Latvia 2-0 (21-8, 23-21) in the 34-minute women's gold medal match while Taru Lahti/Anniina Parkkinen of Finland netted the bronze medal with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) win in 36 minutes over Kim Behrens/Sandra Ittlinger of Germany.

Here is the list of teams winning FIVB events in their first World Tour start together.

Men's Teams, country, year/site
1. Sinjin Smith/Randy Stoklos, United States, 1988 Rio de Janeiro
2. Tim Hovland/Kent Steffes, United States, 1990 Lignano
3. Leif Hanson/Eric Wurts, United States, 1990 Enoshima
4. John Eddo/Leif Hanson, United States, 1991 Cap d'Agde
5. Adam Johnson/Kent Steffes, United States, 1993 Rio de Janeiro
6. Roberto Lopes/Paulao Moreira, Brazil, 1994, Enoshima
7. Mike Dodd/Mike Whitmarsh, United States, 1995 Hermosa Beach
8. Karch Kiraly/Kent Steffes, United States, Atlanta 1996 Olympics
9. Dain Blanton/Jeff Nygaard, United States, 2003 Rhodes
10. Marcio Araujo/Fabio Luiz Magalhaes, Brazil, 2005 Zagreb
11. Harley Marques/Pedro Solberg, Brazil, 2007 Shanghai
12. Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal, United States, 2013 Fuzhou
13. Alvaro Filho/Pedro Solberg, Brazil 2014 Stare Jablonki
14. Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen, Germany, 2015 Fuzhou
15. Marco Caminati/Alex Ranghieri, Italy, 2015 Lucerne
16. Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro, Brazil, 2017 Fort Lauderdale
17. Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann, Australia, 2017 Shepparton
18. Grant O'Gorman/Ben Saxton, Canada, 2017 Sydney
19. Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs, Latvia, 2018 The Hague

Women's Teams, country, year/site
1. Karolyn Kirby/Nancy Reno, United States, 1992 Almeria
2. Karolyn Kirby/Liz Masakayan, United States, 1993 Santos
3. Sandra Pires/Jackie Silva, Brazil, 1995 La Serena
4. Barbra Fontana/Linda Hanley, United States, 1995 Santos
5. Lisa Arce/Holly McPeak, United States, 1996 Pusan
6. Sandra Pires/Adriana Samuel, Brazil, 1998 Toronto
7. Ana Paula Henkel/Sandra Pires, Brazil, 2003 Rhodes
8. Vivian Cunha/Larissa Franca, Brazil, 2008 Guarujá
9. Nicole Branagh/Kerri Walsh Jennings, United States, 2008 Dubai
10. Juliana Felisberta/Carolina Horta, Brazil, 2017 Monaco
11. Madelein Meppelink/Joy Stubbe, The Netherlands 2017 Aalsmeer
12. Alix Klineman/April Ross, United States, 2018 The Hague