Sarah Pavan and Heather Bansley said goodbye to the Rio 2016 beach volleyball tournament with a fifth place finish.
In a battle of unbeaten teams in the quarterfinals, the only Canadian team remaining on the beach was defeated by the top-ranked duo of Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst 2-0 (21-14, 21-14).
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“They are a really strong team and I didn’t play my best today and we weren’t as consistent as we were earlier and throughout the rest of the tournament,” admitted Bansley.
“Honestly right now I think they (Ludwig/Walkenhorst) are the team to beat. Everybody on tour has been struggling with them this year. If they play the way they just did, I think they could win it all,” said Pavan.
In their fifth place campaign, Pavan and Bansley remained unbeaten for the first four matches. The quarterfinals was the only loss suffered by the Canadian team in the entire competition.
“I’m not going to ever look back on this and have bad memories. Obviously right now it’s disappointing and this is definitely not the way we wanted to finish, but a lot of athletes strive to represent their country in an Olympic Games and we got that opportunity,” Pavan said.
The legacy of Rio 2016 – the first time Canada has qualified a full beach volleyball quota in the Olympic Games – could add to the growth of the game in Canada, something that’s also important to Pavan.
“I think as Canadians we were able to bring awareness of our sport to Canada and hopefully grow it. As an athlete, if we were able to be a part of that stepping stone for our country, that’s a huge thing for us.”