After 17th place and seventh place finishes at the opening two stops of beach volleyball’s FIBV World Tour, Heather Bansley and Liz Maloney of Toronto look to continue their momentum for the third stop which starts for them at Shanghai, China in Wednesday’s main draw.
The Canadian pair are chasing a top-16 ranking on the tour by the end of June, which would guarantee them a spot at the 2012 Olympic Games. Heading into the Shanghai stop they are 20th in the FIVB Olympic rankings.
“We are still striving to break into the top-five,” said Maloney. “We want to keep improving as we get further along into the season, especially as we get into the Grand Slam events.”
Shanghai is the first Grand Slam event on the Tour. Cash prizes at Grand Slams are nearly doubled.
“It's our goal to qualify for the Olympics firstly through the World Tour, and top 10 finishes are what we need,”said Bansley.
Their qualification for the Shanghai event took place Tuesday. Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle, Que., and Annie Martin of Sherbrooke, Que., came within a victory of advancing to the main draw, losing their second match.
Julie Rodrigue of Quebec City and Kacie MacTavish of Sharon, Ont., lost their opening match.
The men’s qualifying gets underway Wednesday. Canadian entries are Josh Binstock of Toronto and Martin Reader of Comox, B.C., ninth at last week’s stop in Poland ; Ben Saxton of Calgary and Christian Redmann of Toronto; Maverick Hatch of Comox and Sam Schachter of Toronto and Richard Van Huizen of Toronto and Garrett May of London, Ont.