Beach volleyball: Canadians win last-chance qualifier in both men’s and women’s tournament

Only one pair from the Olympic men’s and women’s beach volleyball tournaments remained open headed into the NORCECA Olympic Beach Volleyball Qualification in Tlaxcala, Mexico.

Canada grabbed them both.

Needing to win outright to clinch, Heather Bansley and Sophie Bukovec went 6-0 to claim gold on the women’s side. On the men’s side Sam Schachter and Daniel Dearing did the exact same thing.


Team Canada Paris 2024 Qualification Tracker

Ranked No. 24 in the world, Bansley and Bukovec fell short of the quota spots assigned on June 9 in accordance with the FIVB Beach Volleyball Olympic Rankings. Needing to get in through the qualifier, the pair left no doubt that they belonged in the Olympic Games, winning all six of their matches in straight sets.

They took down World No. 44- ranked Atenas Gutierrez and Abril Flores of Mexico, 21-16, 21-17 in the final.

Bansley, a 36-year-old native of Waterdown, Ont., will be playing in her third consecutive Olympic Games. She previously played with Brandie Wilkerson in Tokyo 2020, and with Sarah Pavan in Rio 2016, finishing fifth in both competitions.

The Volleyball Canada veteran retired after the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, but returned to the court less than a year ago with 28-year-old Sophie Bukovec.

Bukovec will be playing in her first Olympic Games.

Bansley and Bukovec will join Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson who already qualified via their world ranking.

In a series of coincidences that seem a bit too specific to be true, Schachter and Dearing — also ranked 24 in the world — won all six of their matches in straight sets to book their spot in Paris 2024, just as Bansley and Bukovec did.

They even took down a Mexican duo in the final — Juan Virgen and Ricardo Galindo — to clinch the spot, 21-13, 21-13.

Schachter will make his return to the Olympic Games for the first time in eight years. He teamed up with Josh Binstock in Rio 2016, finishing 19th. Dearing will make his Olympic debut at the age of 34.

Schachter and Dearing will be the only Canadian beach volleyball team competing for the men in Paris.