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2019 Review: Canadian flag flies high at Women’s World Champs

Pavan (left) and Humana-Paredes are the first Canadian world champions
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 20, 2019 – Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan peaked at the right time to win their and Canada’s first FIVB Beach Volleyball Women’s World Championship, at Hamburg 2019. 

The pair had been playing together on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour since 2017 and while they had won three World Tour gold medals in that time, they hadn’t topped a podium in 2019, until they won all eight of their matches in the tournament. 

Over 12,000 fans packed the Rothenbaum Stadium for the gold medal match and they watched Humana-Paredes and Pavan edge out the USA’s April Ross and Alix Klineman in a close-fought match that finished 2-0 (23-21, 23-21) after 58 minutes. 

The win also guarantees the pair a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

“I said as we left the hotel this morning, ‘We’re going to come back as world champions’ and we did,” Pavan said. “This is a dream come true. This is something we will carry with us forever.”

Humana-Paredes made her name alongside Taylor Pischke when they twice won FIVB Beach Volleyball U23 World Championships bronze. 

Pavan was a Canada volleyball international before she moved across to beach volleyball in 2013. She initially played alongside Heather Bansley, whom she partnered at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. 

Following victory in Hamburg, Pavan and Humana-Paredes added further gold in front of their home fans at the Edmonton 3-Star and at the Vienna 5-Star

“The last two weeks have been incredible,” Humana-Paredes said. “We had to fight our way here. It wasn’t an easy route at all and that makes it even more special. 

“It wasn’t pretty at times; it wasn’t the best we’ve ever played but we managed to stay together and fight. It was all heart, we wanted this so bad and now we have it, and it’s the best feeling ever.”

Ross’ silver was her second in a row after she finished second at Vienna 2017 with Lauren Fendrick. 

The 2009 world champion and Klineman have been in partnership since the start of 2018 and while they missed out on gold the points will be a big boost to their hopes of reaching Tokyo 2020. 

“I’m pretty upset,” Ross admitted. “To get here and have it be Alix’s first World Championships, it would have been so amazing to win the gold. 

“This is the best I’ve ever done at a World Championships in an Olympic qualifying year by far, and it goes a long way toward Tokyo so we’re proud about that.”

Australia’s Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy completed the podium line-up when they defeated Switzerland’s Tanja Huberli and Nina Betschart 2-0 (21-18, 22-20) in the bronze medal match. 

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