Strong start for Canadians at under-21 world championships in beach volleyball

HALIFAX – Number-one seeds Garrett May and Danny Demyanenko of Toronto posted victories in their opening two matches in men’s round robin play on Thursday to open the 25-country under-21 world championships in beach volleyball.

Fiodar Kazhamiaka of Waterloo, Ont., and William Sidgwick of Toronto also won twice.

May, who won the under-21 world title last year with Sam Schachter of Toronto, and Demyanenko defeated Haralds Regza and Armands Abolin of Latvia 22-20, 19-21, 15-11 in the morning and Jiasu Dou and Jiaxin Wu of China 21-11, 21-17 in the afternoon.

“We had two great matches today, especially when you consider that Danny and I have only played together for a month,” said May after his second win of the day. “We got behind early in both matches but we settled down in both and were able to side out better, play to our strengths and get the wins.

‘’I feel the pressure as a defending champion and playing in my home country but it’s also a good feeling knowing I am playing here in Canada.”

Kazhamiaka and Sidgwick, the sixth seeds, opened with a victory over compatriots Nick Del Bianco and Ben Chow of Surrey, B.C., 21-18, 17-21, 16-14 then downed Tkakumi Takahashi and Tatsuya Watanabe of Japan 23-21, 21-19.

Del Bianco and Chow, seeded seventh, bounced back to win their second match over Jose Ruiz and Maikhol Salcedo Valero of Venezuela 21-11, 21-12.

In women’s competition, Alexandra Hudson of Mississauga, Ont., and Charlotte Sider of St. Stephen, N.B., are 1-1 in round robin play while Victoria Altomare and Melissa Humana-Paredes of Toronto as well as Sarah Gosselin of Granby, Que., and Sara Robichaud of Gatineau, Que., both dropped their opening two matches.

Competition continues Friday with the third and final round robin matches for the 24 teams in both the men’s and women’s draw and round one of the elimination matches.

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