Canada clinches berth in Olympic qualifying finals

BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic,– It was mission accomplished for both the Canadian men’s and women’s teams on Tuesday as they clinched berths for next year’s Continental Cup Final Olympic qualifying beach volleyball tournament.

In women’s competition, Canada assured itself its spot for the Continental Cup Final as it defeated Puerto Rico 3-1 in a semifinal match at the regional qualifier for countries from North and Central America and the Caribbean. The Canadians, who beat Mexico 3-1 on Monday, face Cuba in the tournament final on Wednesday.

The U.S., faces Mexico and Puerto Rico goes up against the Dominican Republic for third and fourth places respectively. The top-four gain a spot for next year’s Final at this tournament.

In the Canada-Puerto Rico semifinal, Annie Martin of Sherbrooke, Que., and Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle, Que., defeated Beatriz Rivera and Tatiana Encarnacion 21-8, 21-11 in the opening match.

Then Heather Bansley and Liz Maloney of Toronto clinched the match with consecutive victories over Yarleen Santiago and Dariam Acevedo 21-18, 21-17 and Rivera/Encarnacion 21-17, 21-11. Martin and Lessard lost the fourth match to Santiago/Acevedo 27-25, 16-21, 15-13.

On the men’s side, Canada defeated Puerto Rico in its semi and also have a date with Cuba in Wednesday’s final. The Canadian pairs were Martin Reader of Comox, B.C., and Chaim Schalk of Red Deer, Alta., and Christian Redmann of Toronto and Ben Saxton of Calgary (in photo).