Ben Saxton and Christian Redmann saved the day for Canadian beach volleyball in the Brazilian sands of Brasilia, where FIVB World Tour made its first stop of the season. They remain as the only Canucks as the men’s qualifier wrapped up today. Getting a first-round bye, later they had a battle against Argentineans Azaad and Conte, beating them by minimum score difference in tie-break, 21-10, 15-21, 16-14. In the decisive game, an easier task facing the Chinese duo Zhou and Li, who they beat in straight sets, 21-19, 21-14. Saxton and Redmann will represent Canada in the main draw, starting tomorrow.
Two other Canadian teams got very close to a berth. Josh Binstock and Martin Reader had two tough matches in the qualifier. First they defeated Venezuelans Hernandez and Fañe, coming from behind to end the match in a dramatic tie-break, 17-21, 21-15, 16-14. In their final step, Austrians Kunert and Petutschnig were too strong and won 21-17, 19-21, 15-13, in a match that lasted over an hour. Reader felt his thigh cramp up after a block when the Austrians were leading tie-break 13-10. He also had problems with his leg in his previous match against the team from Venezuela.
Maverick Hatch and Sam Schachter managed to beat Japanese Hosegawa and Inoue in an easy 21-10, 21-16 fashion, but fell in two sets against Russians Prokopiev and Likholetov, 18-21, 14-21.
Matt Zbyszewski and Chaim Schalk lost in their first match, against Americans Keenan and Mayer (16-21, 17-21) and left the tournament earlier in the day.
In the women’s main draw, Elizabeth Maloney and Heather Bansley tried to keep their chances alive to advance in the tournament and get more points on the road to London Olympics, but lost to the Dutch Meppelink and van Gestel. The Torontonians won the first set 21-19 and had some chances in the second, one of the longest in Brasilia, but the Dutch closed it 25-23. In tie-break, Meppelink and van Gestel, very excited with the previous set, won 15-8. With this result, Bansley and Maloney say goodbye to Brazil, but still have good chances to get a ticket to London in the upcoming FIVB tournaments.
After speaking with Josh Binstock, it appears the issue is with Martin's toe, not thigh.