Challenge - Edmonton, CAN - 2023 - Beach Pro Tour 2023 season - News

Bansley/Bukovec (CAN) vs. Ahtiainen/Lahti (FIN) - Round 2 #5935403

Bukovec works at the net against Athiainen and Lathi

Heather Bansley and Sophie Bukovec had a promising first day as partners on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour as the Canadians were among the teams that advanced from the qualifier of the Challenge tournament held in their home sand Edmonton on Thursday.

After the conclusion of 45 matches at the Fan Park, eight teams in each gender secured the final spots in the 24-team men’s and women’s main draws, which begin on Friday and go until Sunday in Canada.

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Bansley, a two-time Olympian, and Bukovec, a 2022 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship silver medalist, joined forces just a few weeks ago and had in the Edmonton Challenge qualifier their first test as partners. The tournament also marks the return to the courts of the 35-year-old Bansley, who retired after the Tokyo Olympics, in 2021.

The Canadians responded well to the challenge, securing a pair of wins to claim one of the eight spots in play. The new duo had a comfortable two-set (21-11, 21-16) victory over Puerto Ricans Allanis Navas and Maria Gonzalez in the morning and followed it up with a second-round, 2-1 (21-15, 15-21, 15-9) win over Finland’s Taru Lahti and Niina Ahtiainen in the afternoon to advance.

World champion Sarah Pavan, who played with Bansley from 2013 to 2016 and partnered with Bukovec in the first events of the 2023 Beach Pro Tour season, and new partner Molly McBain also advanced, giving hosts Canada two additional teams in the women’s main draw.

The two, who had also surpassed the qualifier at last week’s Espinho Challenge, in Portugal, started the day in Edmonton with a two-set (21-11, 21-12) victory over Mexicans Atenas Gutierrez and Abril Flores. Their good form continued in the afternoon, when the Canadians topped Germans Julia Sude and Isabel Schneider also in straight sets (21-18, 21-12) to move forward.

Gutierrez/Flores (MEX) vs. Pavan/McBain (CAN) - Round 1 #5928800

McBain and Pavan defeated teams from Mexico and Germany in the qualifier

Le altre sei squadre femminili che hanno avuto successo nelle qualificazioni di Edmonton sono state l'austriaca Dorina Klinger/Ronja Klinger, la brasiliana Talita Antunes/Thamela Coradello, la ceca Barbora Hermannová/Marie-Sara Štochlová, la tedesca Laura Ludwig/Louisa Lippmann, la spagnola Liliana Fernández/Paula Soria e le statunitensi Kelley Kolinske/Hailey Harward.

**Beach Pro Tour Edmonton Challenge – Match Schedule and Results**

Nell'evento maschile, le squadre di otto paesi diversi hanno conquistato i posti nel main draw. Tra questi, lo svizzero Adrian Heidrich, olimpionico di Tokyo, e Leo Dillier, che hanno sconfitto gli americani Tim Brewster e Kyle Friend in due set (21-15, 21-16) al primo turno e hanno superato i thailandesi Poravid Taovato e Pithak Tipjan in due set (21-14, 21-16) nel corso della giornata.

Heidrich/Dillier (SUI) vs. T.Pithak/T. Poravid (THA) - Round 2 #5935560

Heidrich and Dillier smile after a point won against the Thailand duo

Gli altri sette posti sono andati agli australiani Chris McHugh/Paul Burnett, agli austriaci Martin Ermacora/Philipp Waller, ai francesi Calvin Aye/Quincy Aye, ai tedeschi Sven Winter/Lukas Pfretzschner, ai polacchi Piotr Kantor/Jakub Dzybek, ai portoghesi João Pedrosa/Hugo Campos e agli statunitensi Taylor Crabb/Taylor Sander.

Il main draw inizierà venerdì, con 24 incontri di pool play che si svolgeranno in ciascun genere. Il calendario di sabato a Edmonton prevede tre turni eliminatori - Round of 18, Round of 16 e quarti di finale -, mentre le semifinali e le partite per le medaglie concluderanno gli eventi domenica.

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