Canadian pairs shine in Mexico at beach volleyball Olympic qualifier

 MAZATLAN, Mexico (June 21, 2012)Canada advanced to both the men’s and women’s semifinals at the Continental Cup Olympic qualifier in beach volleyball on Thursday.

The winner of this tournament in both men’s and women’s play earns an Olympic spot for their country while second and third place fly to Moscow for a last chance event from June 27 to July 1.

The tournament is played in a team format.  In men’s play, Canada defeated Nicaragua 3-0. Christian Redmann of Toronto (in photo) and Ben Saxton of Calgary dominated their two outings of the day. They first beat Gerald Umaña and Dany Lopez of Nicaragua  21-6, 21-7 and then Henry Hernandez and David Mayorga, also of Nicaragua, 21-14, 21-12.

In between their matches, Josh Binstock of Toronto and Martin Reader of Comox, B.C., bounced Hernandez and Mayorga 21-12, 21-17.

The Canadians meet Cuba in Friday’s semifinal.

"Today was a good warm up match as it was nice to get a feel for the weather and the shallow sand,’’ said Binstock. ‘’We scouted Cuba today and feel good about our game plan against them tomorrow in our semi final"

‘’It was a pretty good day and we got the job done,’’ added Redmann.  ‘’The conditions are definitely different than what we are used to on the world tour. In particular the sand court is much firmer than usual.’’

The news was just as good for the Canadian women as they defeated El Salvador 3-0. Annie Martin of Sherbrooke, Que., and Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle, Que., won two of the three matches.  They defeated Diana Romero and Marcela Ávalos 21-8, 21-8 and Kathya Vásquez and María Vargas 21-11, 21-4.

In between those matches,  Heather Bansley and Liz Maloney of Toronto beat Vasquez and Vargas 21-8, 23-21.

The Canadian women also face Cuba in Friday’s semifinal.

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For more information: www.volleyball.ca and www.fivb.org