Canada comes up short at Continental Beach Championship final
Canada’s road to a second berth in men’s Olympic beach volleyball this summer has gotten a little bit longer after Canada lost to Cuba 3-1 in the final at the NORCECA Continental Cup in Guaymas, Mexico on Sunday.
All is not lost for Canada’s teams of Josh Binstock/Sam Schachter and Grant O’Gorman/Sam Pedlow as they still have one final chance to qualify through the FIVB Continental Cup in Sochi, Russia in July.
“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, national beach 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 two nations split the first two matches with Pedlow, from Barrie, Ont., and O’Gorman of Scarborough, Ont., losing to Sergio Gonzalez and Nivaldo Diaz in straight sets (18-21, 18-21) but the tandem of Binstock and Schachter, both from Richmond Hill, Ont., got things levelled with a three-set win over Karell Peña and Daisell Quesada (20-22, 21-17, 15-11).
That was as good as it got for Canada as Cuba took the afternoon matches to seal one berth at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
First, Binstock and Schachter lost to Gonzalez and Diaz in straight sets (22-24, 18-21) and then Pedlow and O’Gorman dropped a straight sets match to Peña and Quesada (17-21, 13-21).
The two teams’ final chance to qualify takes place July 6-10 in Sochi against some stiff competition where two final berths on the line in Rio, and will involve teams from all corners of the globe.
Prior to the matches on Sunday, the Canadian teams hadn’t lost a set in victories over the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico while Cuba had gotten past St. Lucia and Mexico.
Canada already has qualified a maximum two women’s teams for Rio and one men’s team, with Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton in the hat for the Olympic draw.
Rio will be the first time that Canada has two women’s teams entered in beach volleyball and has qualified two men’s teams only one time, back in 2000 in Sydney, Australia.
Only the United States and Brazil have qualified a full allotment in both men’s and women’s beach volleyball.