Olympic beach volleyball champions start with a win at Toronto’s Polson Pier
Day two of competition started strong at the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals at Toronto’s Polson Pier. With the city skyline in the background, fans watched the first upset of the tournament as the Brazilians Pedro/Evandro lost 1-2 to Bourne/Hyden from the USA.
The Brazilian team came to Toronto after a first-place win at the Long Beach Grand Slam, but despite winning the first set, they could not hold off Hyden/Bourne. “I always expect us to win”, Bourne proudly told the media after the match.
Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Finals is a story of redemption for “The Lion King” Aleksandrs Samoilovs and partner Janis Smedins as they try and put their Olympic disappointment behind them. The A1 Major Klagenfurt champions made a shocking group stage exit from the Copacabana, but won their home tournament in Latvia before arriving in Canada. They opened up their tournament with a 2-1 win over Polish duo Fijalek/Prudel.
“What happened in Rio happened, and we can’t change that,” Samoilovs said. “It will be tough this week because it’s the best of the best here. Ten years ago when I started playing there were five/eight teams with a chance of a medal at each competition, but now anyone in the main draw can medal.”
Brazilian superstar Talita Antunes gave the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals a massive thumbs up after she and Larissa Franca beat local heroes Broder /Valjas on Center Court. The defending champions from Fort Lauderdale Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Final 2015, started strong with a straight sets victory against the Canadians.
“It’s the best tournament, it’s got the best 12 teams and it’s tough,” Talita said. “We’re happy to be back and play the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. Everyone is looking towards the big finals. We’re here and will fight all the way to try and win first place again.”
Toronto fans are invited to Polson Pier every day until the finals on September 18th. For all match times, visit the court schedule on https://ca.swatchmajorseries.com. Admission is free at all times.