Canadian pair hoping to silence home crowd on Olympic debut

 LONDON (July 27, 2012)Canada’s Martin Reader and Josh Binstock are well aware that they face a baptism of fire on their Olympic Games debut when they take on British pair Steven Grotowski and John Garcia-Thompson on centre court on Saturday in a match in which their supporters will be in the vast minority.

Even so they know that they will have a number of supporters in the crowd at Horse Guard’s Parade and they expect there to be the odd Maple Leaf flag puncturing a
sea of Union Jacks to inspire them to their best when the match begins. 

“I think the second we walk out in that stadium it will come together for us on centre court and we will be playing the best volleyball we have been playing,” said Reader of Comox, B.C.

“We have a lot of fan base coming.  Josh’s buddies are coming with hockey sticks and helmets and whatnot. My family is here and that is all that matters for me that my family is here.

“We’ve had the best treatment we’ve ever received, so as it stands right now we are feeling really good and our preparation specifically for each game is as good as it has been.”

The road to the London 2012 Olympic Games has not been easy for the Canadian pair. After they and their compatriots Christian Redmann and Ben Saxton won the NORCECA leg of the Continental Cup, the teams then had a winner-takes-all play-off to decide who would go to
London.

The pair believes the torturous route that they had to take will make them more resilient when they face tough periods during their matches in
London

“No country in the world did the trials like this,” said Binstock of Toronto. “We had to earn our way and now we need to try and build on that momentum. If we had lost that then we wouldn’t be here, so we’ve played with something that big on the line already, we can use that for sure.

“It has been a goal of mine for a long time since I started playing and a goal of ours since we came together as team. Now we’ve achieved that we are happy about it, but now we have to reset our goal and try to achieve that as well. 

“We want to get out of our pool, then hopefully top 10 and then get on the podium. It’s a short term goal followed by a long-term goal.”

On the women’s side, Annie Martin of Sherbrooke, Que., and Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle, Que., also open against the host country on Sunday in a match versus Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin of Britain

 ‘’It’s a real honour to play the host country,’’ Lessard told Lapresse.ca  ‘’They will have the weight of a nation on their shoulders. We are the underdogs but we have been playing super well recently.  With our experience we can capitalize on our opportunities.’’

The 24 pairs in both the men’s and women’s competition are split equally into six pools, playing each team in their group, with the top two advancing to the knockout first round stage along with the two best third-placed teams.

The remaining four third-place teams will then compete in playoff matches to determine which pairs will fill the final two places in the first round.

Canadian beach volleyball schedule (all times EDT in Canada)

 

July 28

 

11:30 a.m.: Josh Binstock and Martin Reader CAN vs John-Garcia Thompson and Steven Grotowski GBR

 

July 29

 

11:30 a.m.: Annie Martin and Marie-Andrée Lessard CAN vs Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin GBR

 

July 30

 

6 a.m.: Binstock and Reader vs Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr NOR

 

July 31

 

3 p.m.: Martin and Lessard vs Ekaterina Khomyakova and Evgenia Ukolova, RUS

 

August 1

 

3 p.m.: Binstock and Reader vs Pedro Cunha and Ricardo Santos BRA

 

August 2

 

7 a.m.: Martin and Lessard vs Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti ITA

 

 

Information: www.volleyball.ca