FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Sao Paulo Grand Slam | 23 - 28 September 2014

#SaoPauloGS


Press release

Canada's Chaim/Saxton focused at FIVB Sao Paolo Grand Slam


Canada's Chaim Schalk, left, and Ben Saxton are hoping to improve past their season-high ninth place finishes at this week's FIVB Sao Paolo Grand Slam in Brazil.

Sao Paulo, Brazil, September 24, 2014 — After a less-than-impressive FIVB World Tour season, by their own admission, Canada pair Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton are aiming to make this week's FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam a standout event.

"It's been ok, average," said Saxton in review of the season. "We've gotten a bunch of 9s, and a bunch of 17ths, kind of middle of the pack, but we're hoping to jump up for this one."

With intentions well set for the Brazilian leg of the World Tour, their Sao Paulo Grand Slam started on the right track with a win, but it was hard-fought over Italy pair Alex Ranghieri and Andrea Tomatis 19-17 in a tie-break.

"It was another tight match," said Schalk. "We've had some close ones with them in the past, so it's good to get a win. We were a little bit sloppy, but we made some plays towards the end which were big."

Schalk also looked back over the pair's season, picking out their best moments, before agreeing with his partner in terms of wanting to leave Sao Paulo with some positive results and memories.

"Norway was nice this year," he said."We came out and won our pool, and that was a good one because we played real strong, we won our pool pretty easily there, but we're hoping to make Brazil our highlight, that's the plan."

Canada's top-ranked pair on the World Tour failed to turn that pool dominance at the Stavanger Grand Slam into a medal shot when they were beaten 2-0 by Germany's Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik in Round 2, hence the intention to push further in Brazil.

While determined competitors, both players recognise that beach volleyball results tend to get buried, like most other sports in Canada, under the popularity of winter sports like ice hockey and curling - sports in which Canada are current Winter Olympic champions.

Schalk is confident the sport is gathering more and more popularity, but accepts that it is a slow process, as does Saxton, who says walking down the street unrecognised in Canada isn't difficult as a beach volleyball player.

"We're not a summer sport country generally," he said. "But all the summer sport athletes are trying to change that. The volleyball community recognises us, but otherwise no-one really knows who we are."

World Tour teams certainly know who they are and they return to court tomorrow looking for more wins, but the assignments ahead are as tough as the Italy one they started their competition with on the first morning.

Their remaining pool matches are against Poland's number two seeds Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel, as well as Brazil's re-formed 2005 world champion pair of Marcio Araujo and Fabio Luiz.


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