Canada’s men’s beach volleyball team bowed out of medal contention Thursday afternoon with a 2-0 (21-16, 22-20) loss to Italy in the Lucky Losers bracket.
Martin Reader (Comox) and Josh Binstock (Toronto), a first-year team, won their opening game at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England but dropped their next three. Even in their first game against host Great Britain, the Canadians received great crowd support.
Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy advanced to the final round of 16 while the Canadian team will have time to reflect on their momentous feat of representing their country on the international stage.
In the other Lucky Losers game Thursday, Germany’s Kay Matysik and Jonathan Erdmann fought back from losing the opening set to beat the Czech Republic’s Premysl Kubala and Petr Benes. Losing the play-in matches means Canada and the Czechs officially receive 17th place finishes.
Following six spectacular days of round-robin pool play matches and the two play-in matches Thursday night, eight men’s teams did not advance to Friday’s start of the single-elimination rounds for the remaining 16 teams.
A total of 24 men’s beach volleyball teams from 17 countries have been competing in London since last Saturday and half of them were the last to finish three rounds of pool play Thursday evening in the purpose-built, sold-out 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade. (The majestic venue also includes a portion of adjacent St. James Park in historic central London).
The top two finishers in each pool automatically moved forward, after any ties were broken, to Friday’s start of the single-elimination bracket play for the remaining 16 teams on the way to the beach volleyball podium. Additionally, the top two third-place teams, again after ties were broken, automatically moved forward.
The other four third-place teams played two special play-in games late Thursday night to determine the final two teams for the knockout rounds. The winners advanced to elimination play and the losers eliminated with 17th-place finishes.
Four sessions were held Friday with two matches in each (one per gender) for the first half of the round of 16 matches with the balance played on Saturday.
The qualification process for this year’s Olympic Games beach volleyball competition was modified from previous years to determine the 24 teams for each gender. A total of 16 teams qualified for the Games through the Olympic Ranking which is based primarily on FIVB SWATCH World Tour standings, with five more joining as winners of the AVC, CAVB, CEV, CSV and NORCECA Continental Cup finals (which is how Reader-Binstock qualified) and two from the World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament. Great Britain was granted a berth in each gender as hosts.
The sold-out beach volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games continues through to Aug. 9. For current information, visit www.fivb.org.