Canada’s Ben Saxton (Calgary, AB) and Grant O’Gorman (Scarborough, ON) reached top of the men’s podium at the Sydney two-star event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour on Saturday.
Until today, Saxton, a 2016 Olympian, had won one silver and four bronze medals on the World Tour (with his former partner), while O’Gorman had been decorated with FIVB medals only at the age-class World Championship level. This was also their first FIVB tournament as a pair.
Said O’Gorman: “It was a great start for our new partnership. I’m so excited for what the future has in store for us. I want to thank Ben for being such a stud all week!”
France’s Youssef Krou and Quincy Aye and USA’s William Kolinske and Miles Evans completed the podium on Manly Beach, leaving top seeds and Australian favourites Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann in fourth place.
The gold-medal match was the only straight-setter of the day. Saxton and O’Gorman dominated the first set, cruising to a 21-8 win. Youssef Krou and Quincy Aye stayed in contention through 6-6 in the second set, but four points in a row for the Canadians pushed them forward to a 10-6 advantage. On second match point, Youssef Krou’s sky ball serve went wide to fix the final 2-0 (21-8, 21-16) in favour of Saxton and O’Gorman. Krou and Aye’s silver is their third World Tour medal as a team, after one gold and one bronze in 2017.
Earlier on Saturday in Sydney, in the semifinals, after 53 minutes of play, the Canadians won the longest match of the day with a final score of 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 16-9) over the U.S. team.
“My sister (Camille Saxton, with Julie Gordon) won gold in Sydney earlier in the year,so I had to make sure she wouldn’t be the only one,” Ben Saxton said after the final
“I love the crowd here. There are so many nice people and the beach is amazing, so it’s awesome to be here.”
The only women’s pair entered from Canada – Megan Nagy and Marie-Christine Lapointe – finished 19th overall.