Canada misses chance to qualify 4th beach volleyball pair for Olympics
Two Canadians worked together trying to push Cuba out of Rio spot
Two Canadian men's beach volleyball pairs will need to make a last-ditch effort in July for an Olympic berth after dropping their second-to-last chance at qualification Sunday.
The pairs of Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter, and Sam Pedlow and Grant O'Gorman competed in the NORCECA Continental Championship trying to secure just one spot at the 2016 Rio Games. They lost the best-of-five final against Cuba Sunday, dropping six sets in a row after winning the opening match against the Cubans (2-1, 0-2, 0-2, 0-2).
"Our athletes poured their hearts and souls into this tournament, and I'm proud of how we came together as a team," said Steve Anderson, the team head coach. "Today the Cubans played better and they earned the way to Rio. Now we have to regroup and start preparing for Sochi."
The tournament in Guaymas, Mexico saw two of Canada's men's beach volleyball teams playing to gain their nation a spot in Rio, even though there was only room for one squad to go.
Binstock and Schachter, both from Richmond Hill, Ont., worked alongside O'Gorman of Scarborough, Ont,. and Barrie, Ont., native Pedlow.
The two teams took to the court one after another to defeat the U.S. Virgin Islands in the quarter-finals in three straight matches, all two sets to none. The Canadians then went on to defeat Puerto Rico in the semis, again winning three straight matches leaving their opponent unable to capture a set.
Cuba defeated Mexico in their respective semifinal match to meet Canada in Sunday's final.
The Canadian men will have one last chance to qualify another pair for the Olympics at the FIVB World Continental Cup Olympic qualification tournament, running July 6-10.
Canadian beach volleyball contingent
Prior to this tournament, Canada already qualified three Olympic spots in beach volleyball.
For the first time ever, Canada has two women's teams headed to a Summer Games. Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley qualified Canada a spot in Rio by finishing third in the Olympic qualifying process, as did Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas who sit at 10th.
Olympic Qualification has officially come to an end & I can finally say we are <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RioBound?src=hash">#RioBound</a>!!! 🇧🇷🇨🇦 🏐🎉🎉💃🏻<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TeamCanada?src=hash">#TeamCanada</a> <a href="https://t.co/mg83pN0L5b">pic.twitter.com/mg83pN0L5b</a>—@HeatherBansley
On the men's side, Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton qualified earlier this month.
Despite Canada's beach teams meeting Olympic qualification standards, Volleyball Canada is yet to formally announce which duos will fulfil those berths.