Batman Returns: Latvian star Lasmanis back to 3x3 courts
RIGA (Latvia) - After asking 25-year-old Latvian 3x3 star Karlis Lasmanis about this weekend’s United League Europe Stop-1 event in Russia and his return to the court, you could hear the excitement in his voice.
"You can’t imagine, I can’t wait. I can’t wait to step on the court. I miss it a lot."
Following his rise as the top player in the 3x3 rankings last summer, Lasmanis suffered an ankle injury that would sideline him for the year. His last competitive games were in September, and after months of rehabilitation, he is back and ready to go.
“I’m happy that I was (ranked) first but then I got injured and other players just passed me, so I feel ok about it because I have a really good chance to get back to the first position.”
This includes his Riga Ghetto teammate Nauris Miezis, aka “Robin”, who momentarily leapfrogged him to the number one player in the world.
“Our relationship is more like friends than teammates. We fight for each other. I like our nickname... As long as I’m Batman,” he laughed.
“I was really proud that someone from our team got to first place in the world. I am happy that my team is doing well. Really happy.” His team, which saw a great deal of success in his absence, was also on his mind throughout his rehabilitation process.
“It was difficult to watch (my team) because I couldn’t help them. I couldn’t help give them my advice and experience.”
With a new season on the horizon, there are bigger goals in mind: the 2020 Olympics. For the first time, 8 countries will compete for Olympic gold in the 3x3 format. For Lasmanis and his Latvian teammates, the qualifying process will be a difficult one, with the Netherlands, Canada, Croatia and India in their pool.
“I think we have a killer group. We got a strong pool and we are going to work hard to get there. It’s not going to be easy. All those teams are really good.”
But the Latvian lefty believes he has a slight edge on the competition. His father, Uģis Lasmanis, is a two-time Olympic rower and gives his son advice and the motivation to go out and work hard to represent his country.
“My father shares his experiences with me. He’s been there and knows how to get ready for the competition and can tell me secrets about how to get ready. I’m listening to him and I think I’m 2-3% more ready than other guys who don’t have that experience.”
With all that said, Lasmanis is ready for a big 2020 across all competitions.
"Of course, everything is about Olympics, but there is also the World Tour to think about. I built my body for the whole season. My motivation is to be strong because I’m working for more than just the Olympics."