FIVB Beach Volleyball U23 World Championship

Press release

Belgium and Canada top men’s pools in Sochi


Grant O'Gorman and Sam Pedlow pulled through for Canada by defeating Russian youngster Stoyanovskiy and Yarzutkin twice

Sochi, Russia, July 9, 2016 – The Belgian and Canadian men are one win away from the Rio Olympic Games. Both countries finished on top of their pool undefeated at the FIVB World Continental Cup on Saturday in Sochi. In the semifinals on Sunday they will take on the winners of the quarterfinals for the two remaining Olympic tickets.

Both countries needed to play a golden set to claim victory in the final and deciding pool match. Canada’s Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter were upset in the first set by Nikita Liamin and Dmitri Barsouk (21-18, 21-15).

So it was up to Grant O’Gorman and Sam Pedlow to make the difference, and they did. In the second match they defeated Youth Olympic champions Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin 2-0 (21-19, 21-18).

So it was no surprise the Canadian coach sent O’Gorman and Pedlow out on the sand again for the golden set. And again they pulled through by defeating Stoyanovksiy and Yarzutkun once more: 15-6.

O’Gorman: “Sam totally dominated that whole set, I think he had eight blocks or something like that. It was unreal. I have never seen him play with so much fire. It was awesome.”

His partner added: “I have to give some credit to Grant, because in the first match we played this morning he did a good job in covering a lot of the court. We won the first set with a one-handed dig over. Again getting one in the second set, which kind of made the difference.”

“I think they thought they could hit some sharper angles around Grant in the golden set. I was just lucky enough to get over the net fast and block them. I am with the way we played and excited to get it going tomorrow night.”

The tension is rising, but the Canadians, who already have one pair in the Olympics with Chaim Schalk and Ben Saxton, can handle it, Pedlow said. “Tomorrow is just another game. It’s just another opportunity to come out and do something we love in a beautiful country.” O’Gorman agreed: “We’re just two dudes having a good time.”

Belgium had a hard time in their match against Uruguay, who ended up last in the pool. Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Walle defeated Marco Cairus and Marcello Perez 2-0 (21-15, 21-10), but Bob Douwen and Aljosa Urnaut lost the second match to Renzo Cairus and Sebastian Vieyto (21-16-21, 19-21, 15-4).

In the golden set Uruguay’s Cairus and Vieyto were leading, but Koekelkoren and Van Walle levelled at 12-12 to win 15-12 in the end.

While Canada will have a play-off between the teams if they win the Olympic ticket, Koekelkoren and Van Walle will go for Belgium. They will be the first men’s team to represent their country in Olympic beach volleyball. The new pair started playing on the FIVB World Tour only since June last year. Their best finish so far was fifth place at the Antalya Open last year.

Van Walle: “We didn’t expect to be here to be honest. We had some goals, but Rio was not one of them. But it’s nice that we have the opportunity. And in Stavanger we were really close and we hope that we get the ticket here in Sochi.”

“The nerves are ok”, Koekelkoren added. “We can handle it pretty well and we are focussing on the job on the court. Point by point. That’s how we played in Stavanger too and I hope we can keep this up until Sunday.”

Saturday evening both teams will know whom they are up against for the battle over the two remaining Olympic tickets. The matches on centre court are streamed live on the 
FIVB YouTube channel.

The match-ups for the quarterfinals are:
18.10 court 2 Fane/Henriquez (VEN) – Ch. Chen/Bao J. (CHN)
19.00 court 2 Peter/Tigrito (VEN) – Li/LiZhuoxin (CHN)
19.05 court 1 Stoyanovskiy/Yarzutkin (RUS) – Revuelta/Galindo (MEX) 20.05 court 1 Liamin/Barsouk (RUS) – Rubio/Gaxiola (MEX)

Quick links:
FIVB World Continental Cup Olympic Qualification - Website
Men - Results/Schedule
Women - Results/Schedule


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