Canadian beach volleyball players made history today as they were among the first medalists in the sport at the Commonwealth Games.
The women’s team of Melissa Humana-Paredes of Toronto and Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ontario, dashed the golden dreams of the home-country favourites Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar to win the exciting final 2-0 (21-19, 22-20).
“It feels amazing to the first gold medalists in women’s beach volleyball at the Commonwealth Games,” said Pavan, who finished fifth at the 2016 Olympics with former partner Heather Bansley. “Australia is a great team; we knew they were not going to give up anything in front of their home crowd. The most exciting thing is that we can get better. Our ceiling is so high; we are always feeling that we can improve.”
Pavan and Humana-Paredes, who teamed up last year, are ranked top in the world by the FIVB.
Said Humana-Paredes: “I believe that this is the first (women’s beach volleyball) gold medal for Canada at any multi-sport Games! It’s pretty surreal. It shows that what we are doing is working; it’s not a fluke. But there is still so much more that we can do.”
On the men’s side it was also a battle with Australia, but Canada came up short in a three-set thriller. In the end, the Australian team of Damien Schumann and Christopher McHugh needed three match points to defeat Canada’s Sam Schachter and Sam Pedlow 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 18-16) and become the first Commonwealth Games men’s beach volleyball champions.
“We came for gold; there’s no denying it. Today just wasn’t our day,” said Sam Schachter of Richmond Hill, Ontario. “We had momentum going into the final set, but we just couldn’t hold that momentum late in the third. We let it slip away …. This was a great learning experience for us; to get to the medal round is an achievement.”
Pedlow, who is from Barrie, Ontario, agreed: “It’s been a great experience to be here at these Games – beach volleyball was showcased here and it’s great for our sport. …. We are super grateful to have had the opportunity to represent our country here.”
The teams will now resume their seasons on the Beach World Tour circuit.