Canadian teams eager to gain experience at sitting world volleyball championships

CALGARY –Both the Canadian men’s and women’s teams are looking to gain some valuable experience at the sitting world volleyball championships for athletes with a disability July 11-18 in Edmond, Oklahoma.

The 23-country competition is also a qualifying event for the 2012 Paralympic Games. The top-three in both men’s and women’s play earn a ticket to London. Canada can also earn a Paralympic berth next year at the Para Pan Am Games in Mexico.

In the men’s tournament, Canada is in a pool with reigning Paralympic champions Bosnia- Herzegovina, Libya, China and the U.S. The Canadians open against Libya July 11, play Bosnia-Herzegovina and China on July 13 and the U.S., July 14. The top-three teams in each pool advance to the playoff round.

The men’s team members are Chad Drummond, Austin Hinchey and Doug Learoyd, all of Edmonton, Jose Rebelo of St-Hubert, Que., Kevin Strybosch of London, Ont., Eric Dechaine of St. Lina, Alta., Wilfredo Morewilson of Toronto, Mikael Bartholdy of Calgary and Greg Stewart of Kamloops, B.C.

“Our focus is really match by match and build off each performance,” said Ian Halliday, head coach of the men’s national team. “The opportunity to play some teams from overseas and see how they play will be a huge benefit for our program.”

In the women’s tournament Canada is in a pool with Ukraine, Slovenia, Britain, China, Brazil and RussiaCanada opens against Ukraine and Slovenia July 11, China July 12, Britain July 13 and Brazil and Russia July 14. The top-four teams in each of the two pools advance to the playoffs.

The Canadian women’s team is comprised of Chantal Beauchesne of St-Isidore, Ont., Allison Lang of Edmonton and Leaha Hickman of Lashburn, Alta. The other team members are Jolan Brunner of Vermilion, Alta., Danielle Ellis and Jordan Funnel, both of White Rock, B.C., Karen McCoy of Lincoln, N.B., Amber Skyrpan of Wandering River, Alta., and Tanja Hodzic of Vancouver and Krista McDonald.

“Our training camps have been very successful and our players have really stepped up their game,” said Larry Matthews head coach of the women’s team. “They are going in with more confidence and these worlds will be an opportunity to build on that. We also hope we can move up the world rankings and get some wins.”

It is the first worlds for both teams in the sitting version of the sport.  

What is sitting volleyball? See video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zsPMJDsZrI

2010 World Championship website: www.2010worlds.com