British pair get home Olympics underway
The British are ranked sixth and need a win to give themselves the best chance of qualifying from pool play to the knockout rounds, but in the two matches between the pairs so far it is the Canadians who have won.
Lessard and Martin have also shown their mettle in the route they had to take to qualify. After helping Canada win the NORCECA leg of the Continental Cup, they then had to take on compatriots Heather Bansley and Elizabeth Maloney in a winner-takes-all play-off to book their place at Horse Guard’s Parade.
Two of the outside favourites for gold also begin what they hope will be runs to the gold medal match on August 8. First off the number five seeds Maria Antonelli and Talita Antunes take on The Netherlands’ Madelein Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel.
The Brazilians began 2012 in great form and won one gold and two silver medals in the first three tournaments of the year. However, they lost their way when the World Tour moved to Europe, but showed that they aren’t far off their best when they won bronze at the A1 Grand Slam presented by Ergo, the last FIVB SWATCH World Tour tournament before London 2012.
Following that match USA’s Jennifer Kessy and April Ross make their Olympic debuts against the South American Continental Cup winners Ana Gallay and Maria Zonta.
This year they have yet to hit the form that propelled them to the 2009 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and their bronze medal at the smart Grand Slam, Rome was the only time that they finished on the podium in 2012.
Even so they know what it is like to compete in London after they took part in the London Prepares Series beach volleyball test event at Horse Guard’s Parade in 2011. There they finished second and they will be aiming for a similar run, starting with a win over the Argentines.
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