Men’s league champions determined in Latvia and Bahrain

Ventspils and Bani Jamra snatched the titles in their leagues

2023 men’s volleyball champions emerged in Latvia and Bahrain over the weekend. Ventspils triumphed in Latvia, while Bani Jamra lifted the trophy in Bahrain.

After finishing fourth in the eight-team double round-robin Optibet Latvian Championship Volleyball League on a 7-7 win-loss record, Ventspils marched through the playoffs undefeated, eventually upsetting regular season winners Rigas Tehniska Universitate (RTU) in four sets in one of Saturday’s semifinals, and third-placed Augsdaugava Daugavpils in a dramatic five-set championship match at the Final Four in Jurmala on Sunday.

Ventspils came back from a set down twice in the final to celebrate a 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 24-26, 25-15, 15-13) victory over Augsdaugava. 37-year-old opposite Gatis Garklavs contributed an amazing 37 points, including five kill blocks towards the win.

Winning the Latvian Championship Volleyball League also meant that Ventspils qualified for the national playoffs, along with the three teams that represented the country in the Baltic League.

 Ventspils celebrate as Optibet Latvian Championship Volleyball League 2023 champions (Photo credits:


The bronze medal match was also a five-set affair. RTU came back from two sets down against Vecumnieki to make the podium after a 3-2 (23-25, 23-25, 25-16, 25-17, 15-9) win. This way Vecumnieki, the team that had lost only twice all season, the smallest number of defeats among all eight participants, was left without a medal after losing both their semifinal against Augsdaugava and the third place match against RTU in deciding tie-breakers.

Vecumnieki’s outside hitter Aivis Abolins was recognised as the Most Valuable Player of the season and his teammate Reinis Zelcs was honoured as the Best Middle Blocker. The award for Best Outside Hitter went to RTU’s Aleksandrs Nasonovs, while Augsdaugava’s Sandis Vilcans was named Best Opposite. Arvis Andershmits and Andis Bertans, both of Ventspils, took the prizes for Best Libero and Best Setter, respectively. RTU’s 44-year-old middle Raimonds Vilmanis was recognised as the Most Experienced Player of the league.

Bani Jamra celebrate as BVA League 2023 champions (Photo credits:


14 teams took part in the 2022-2023 season of the men’s Bahrain Volleyball Association League. They were divided into two round-robin pools with the top three teams from each pool advancing to a double round-robin Final Six. The best four then moved on to the semifinals.

In Saturday’s big final in Riffa, Bani Jamra pulled off a 3-1 (25-20, 25-21, 25-27, 25-20) victory over Busaiteen. The team of A'Ali completed the podium with bronze.

Bahrain Volleyball Association President Sheikh Ali bin Mohammed Al Khalifa presided over the presentation and closing ceremony, actively attended by a number of Board of Directors members.