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CANADA’S DOUBLE BEACH VOLLEYBALL THREAT

Canada is sending two beach volleyball teams to the women’s quarter-finals after another near-perfect performance by Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan. The Canadian duo dispatched Spain’s Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan 2-0 in a round-of-16 match at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, overpowering their opponents 21-13, 21-13. the reigning world champions, have not dropped a set in Tokyo, winning all three of their pool matches 2-0. Canada is now the only country with two teams in the semis. Heather Bansley of London, Ont., and Toronto’s Brandie Wilkerson play Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka in their quarter-final matchup on Tuesday, just before Toronto’s Humana-Paredes and Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., will face Australia’s Mariafe Artacho Del Solar and Taliqua Clancy.

Gabriela Debues-Stafford of Canada reacts at the Olympic Games on Aug. 2, 2021.ALEKSANDRA SZMIGIEL/Reuters

SEMI-FINAL SISTER ACT

Two Canadian sisters are through to the semi-finals of the women’s 1,500-metre. Twenty-five-year-old Gabriela Debues-Stafford of Toronto won her heat to qualify for Wednesday’s semi-final with a time of 4:03.70. Her younger sister Lucia Stafford, 22, was not to be outdone. She finished seventh with a personal-best time of 4:03.52 and advanced as well.

BLACK AND BILES TO RETURN

Tuesday’s Olympic balance beam final will be featuring a couple of comeback stories. The Canadian Olympic Committee confirmed Monday that Ellie Black will compete in the event after pulling out of last Thursday’s women’s all-around final with an ankle sprain. She’ll be joining American gymnast Simone Biles, who is expected to return to competition on beam after withdrawing from all the other finals to focus on her mental health. The six-time medallist qualified for the individual all-around and all five individual event finals but took herself out of all but the beam after she said she was dealing with issues surrounding air awareness.

CANADIAN UPS AND DOWNS

In track and field, Totonto’s Matthew Hughes raced to sixth in the men’s 3,000-metre steeplechase in eight minutes 16.03 seconds. It’s the best result by a Canadian in an event dominated by runners from African nations. Vancouver’s John Gay was 15th. In the women’s 5,000 metre final, Andrea Seccafein of Guelph, Ont., finished 15th. Saskatoon’s Anicka Newell qualified for the final of the women’s pole vault with a successful attempt of 4.55 metres. Toronto’s Crystal Emmanuel failed to advance to the finals of the 200 metres despite a bounce-back performance that saw her win her heat with a season-best time of 22.74 seconds. Her semifinal effort fell short of her earlier speed as she finished sixth in 23.05.

TRACK STARS

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands started her bid to win three medals at the Tokyo Games by earning gold in the 5,000 metres. Hassan pulled away with about 250 meters to go and cruised to the win in a time of 14 minutes, 36.79 seconds. She beat Hellen Obiri of Kenya by nearly two seconds. Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia was third. Earlier in the day, the 28-year-old Hassan had a scare when she fell on the final lap in the opening round of the 1,500. She picked herself up, caught the pack and won her heat to advance. She’s also entered in the 10,000 meters. Hassan won the 1,500 and 10,000 at the 2019 world championships. Meanwhile, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico won gold in the women’s 100-metre hurdles, powering ahead of American Keni Harrison.

The Canadian Press,

The Associated Press