Canada’s Van Huizen and Binstock on golden sands

SEVEN MILES BEACH, Grand Cayman Canadians Richard Van Huizen and Josh Binstock, both of Toronto, defeated Puerto Ricans Roberto Rodriguez and Christopher Underwood 21-19, 21-14 to win the men’s gold medal at the season opening event on the NORCECA (North and Central America and Carribean) beach volleyball circuit.

It was a gutty performance by Van Huizen who battled cramps in both legs all day and had to play two three-setters before arriving into the final match of the competition.

“I struggled in the first set but then I felt 100 percent in the second set,” Van Huizen said. “I controlled what I could control and managed myself physically. I have had to deal with these issues before and as soon as I arrived today I knew it was going to be a tough day for me with the hot weather.’’

Earlier on Sunday, Van Huizen and Binstock came from behind to edge Jon Mesko and Paul Baxter of the U.S., 19-21, 21-16, 16-14 and then erased a one-set deficit to prevail against Mexicans Ulises Ontiveros and Lombardo Ontiveros 19-21, 21-17, 15-8.

Rodriguez and Underwood defeated countrymen Orlando Irizarry and Amaury Velasco 21-18, 21-14 and followed that with a 21-17, 19-21, 15-13 win over Martin Reader of Comox, B.C., and Chaim Schalk of red Deer, Alta., in the semifinal.

In the bronze medal match, the Ontiveros brothers defeated Reader and Schalk 21-16, 15-21, 15-12.

In women’s competition, Heather Bansley and Elizabeth Maloney of Toronto defeated Yarleen Santiago and Dariam Acevedo of Puerto Rico 21-18, 21-14 for the bronze.

Full results and photos at