Monday, 9 July 2012

Martin Reader excited to represent Canada

It took until three weeks before the Olympic Games, but beach volleyball player Martin Reader has his coveted ticket to London.

Reader, a Comox native who lived in Vancouver for several years before relocating to Toronto in September, and his partner Josh Binstock of Toronto, won Canada’s lone men’s berth on Saturday with a 21-18, 21-14 victory over Chris Redmann of Toronto and Ben Saxton of Calgary at Ashbridges Bay in Toronto.

“So excited to be part of the CDN Olympic Team! ” Reader, 28, said in a tweet. “Stoked to meet & do Canada proud in the sand at Buckingham Palace.”

The beach volleyball will actually take place on temporary courts set up at Horse Guards Parade in central London. It is flanked on the south by the rear garden wall of 10 Downing St., the official residence of the British Prime Minister.

Reader and Binstock, who teamed up this year, are ranked No. 35 among the 146 duos on the FIBV World Tour. They needed to face off against Redmann and Saxton after both duos combined in late June in Mexico to win the Continental Cup and earn Canada a regional Olympic berth. Playing in front of 1,000 sun-drenched spectators, Reader and Binstock took charge early.

“We executed our plan perfectly, our position serving, big blocks and great defence,” Reader said in a release. “But we still have a lot of work to do with the Olympic Games ahead of us.”

“Anything can happen [at the Games],” Binstock told reporters after the match. “Once you get yourself to the big show — the L.A. Kings showed it — anything can happen.”

On the women’s side, Quebecers Annie Martin and Marie-Andree Lessard beat Heather Bansley and Liz Maloney of Toronto 17-21, 21-12, 15-10 to claim their Olympic berth. Canada’s only beach volleyball Olympic medal came in 1996 when Mark Heese and John Child earned bronze.

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