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Canada begins beach Worlds campaign in Austria

Canada will feature prominently as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship gets started Friday on Danube Island in Vienna, Austria. 

Four Canadian women’s teams and three men’s teams are entered in the prestige event on the beach volleyball calendar with 42 teams from six continents entered in each gender.

In what has been a successful year for Canada’s beach volleyball teams, all the entrants are aiming high.

“I am very excited that we have seven teams in the World Championships this year,” said Steve Anderson, head coach of Canada’s beach volleyball program. “In fact, we were only one qualifying spot away from having the maximum allowed of eight.”

On the women’s side, there aren’t many teams in the world hotter than Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, out of Kitchener and Toronto, respectively.

 

The tandem comes in having made it to the podium in their last three events, including a win in the five-star event in Porec, Croatia, on Canada Day.

The team only got together late last season and is already having some big early returns just a year after the 2016 Olympics.

“Even though 2017 is a recovery year from the 2016 Rio Olympics, and we have a lot of new combinations, our teams are still achieving world class results,” said Anderson.

“The athletes are well prepared and will give their best to represent Canada.”

Also included in the field are 2016 Olympian Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson, both of Toronto; Taylor Pischke has been teamed up with Kristina May this season but for Worlds she’s partnered with May’s Rio Olympic teammate Jamie Broder out of Victoria.

The tandem of Julie Gordon out of Barrie and Camille Saxton from Calgary will look to find the early season form that won them two early-season World Tour stops in Australia.

The Saxton family has an entrant on the men’s side, as well, with Ben Saxton and Red Deer’s Chaim Schalk continue their partnership that got them to last year’s Olympics.

Fellow Olympian Sam Schachter out of Richmond Hill, Ont., teams with new partner Sam Pedlow from Barrie.  Also representing Canada is Ryan Vandenburg and Aaron Nusbaum.