The beach volleyball duo of Martin Reader of Comox and Josh Binstock of Toronto made it to the main draw of the Prague stop on the FIVB World Tour last week, winning three matches in qualifying.
They defeated two Italian pairs including Andrea Tomatis and Matteo Martino, 21-14, 21-14 in the second round as well as Dawid Popek and Michal Makowski of Poland 21-18, 22-20 in the third to grab one of the eight available spots for the main draw. (The Polish pair had earlier defeated the top-seeded pair in qualifying).
Reader-Binstock lost to the Czech team of Premysl Kubala-Petr Benes 21-17, 21-16 in the first round of the main draw then were eliminated by the Brazilian duo of Ricardo Alex Costa Santos-Pedro Henrique Cunha 15-21, 23-21, 10-15. There was no shame in that loss, however, as Ricardo-Cunha went on to win the tournament.
The team of Christian Redmann of Toronto and Ben Saxton of Calgary also advanced to the main draw and made it to round four. Both Canadian teams are looking to be the top-two Canadian pairs on the Tour by mid-June so they can compete at the Continental Cup Olympic qualifier.
Maverick Hatch of Comox and Sam Schachter of Toronto were eliminated in the second round of qualifying in Prague.
Meanwhile, Canada’s beach volleyball athletes continue to spend their own money or borrow from Volleyball Canada as they travel to tournaments in an attempt to qualify for the Summer Olympics.
As detailed in last week’s Record sports, carding money from Sport Canada’s Athlete Assistance Plan – which had been tentatively approved for 20 players – has been held back for six months by a Volleyball Canada appeal concerning a player who had been cut from the men’s team.
Canadian Athletes Now has set up an emergency fund, and Conrad Leinemann (former Olympic beach volleyball player and COO of CAN Fund) said the group has so far been able to release $3,500 to 16 athletes to help cover the costs of travel, hotel and food to Prague, Moscow and Rome.
“None of the athletes have received one dollar from Own the Podium (which helps only 50 per cent of summer sports), Volleyball Canada or their carding money,” Leinemann noted in a press release. “So, we have left the fundraiser open.”
More information about and donations to the Canadian Athletes Now Fund is available at www.MYCANFund.ca, www.facebook.com/canfund, www.twitter.com/CANFUND or by calling 1-866-937-2012 or 1-416-487-4442.