Sitting volleyball teams reach podium in Peru

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Canada’s men’s and women’s sitting volleyball teams both reached the podium at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima.

The Canadian men posted a 3-0 win over Colombia in their bronze medal match. Captain Doug Learoyd led the charge with 12 points, followed by Darek Symonowicz with 10. This is the third Parapan American Games in a row that the men’s sitting volleyball team has taken home bronze.

“We’re excited for the bronze medal win,” said head coach Jeff Smith. “Obviously, we wanted to come home with the hardware and we did that. Our libero’s dad (Mikael Bartholdy’s father, who was ill) passed away as we got on the bus to come to the game so we definitely played with extra emotion for one of our brothers.”

All in all it’s a good way to end a great tournament in Lima. This is why we do this – we do a four-year cycle so that we can get to Tokyo 2020. I think we’ve shown that we can play with the biggest guys in the world. The last-chance qualifier is a way to better ourselves no matter who is going to be there so we’re definitely interested in making that happen.”

The women’s team defeated host team Peru, also 3-0. This is the second bronze for the women – they had the same result at Toronto 2015.

“To get a bronze today is so exciting for our country,” said team captain Danielle Ellis, who contributed 18 points to Canada’s effort on Wednesday night. “Of course we wanted that gold medal match but bronze is great. We knew what we needed to work on, and we were able to swing on some things today and work on our tactics. It was a great feeling to be out there. Next for the team is going to be a last-chance qualifier for Tokyo 2020, and we’ve got one more opportunity to make it happen. It’s going to be a lot of training and a lot of hard work but hopefully in seven months we’ll get the ticket.”