Reader/Binstock and Lessard/Martin headed for London
TORONTO (July 7, 2012) – Josh Binstock of Toronto and Martin Reader of Comox, B.C., as well as Annie Martin of Sherbrooke, Que., and Marie-Andrée Lessard of Ville LaSalle Que., are Canada’s Olympic entries in beach volleyball.
The two pairs were the victors in men’s and women’s play on Saturday at the Olympic trials at Ashbridges Bay.
In the women’s showdown, Martin and Lessard defeated Heather Bansley and Liz Maloney of Toronto 17-21, 21-12, 15-10.
“We feel a mixture of energy and relief, but our job is not yet done,’’ said Lessard. ‘’We are two relatively small players playing a big game, but we are ready for London. With a tough Olympic qualifier in Mexico, and a huge challenge today we are now ready to soar and surprise everyone inLondon.”
Martin returns to the Games. She was fifth in 2004 with Guylaine Dumont of Quebec City.
“Our focus today was on quality, savoring every single moment, every play, every point,’’ she said. ‘’We stayed in the present and played the match moment by moment, not letting the “bigness” of it all affect us. ‘’
In the men’s final, Binstock and Reader defeated Christian Redmann of Toronto and Ben Saxton ofCalgary 21-18, 21-14.
“I grew up here on the beaches, so I felt really comfortable playing at Ashbridges Bay, albeit in front of a much bigger crowd that I am used to,’’ said Binstock. ‘’We felt really supported today with the crowd behind us and playing in front of friends and family. This was amazing.”
Reader said it was the pair’s best match of the year.
“We executed everything perfectly – our position serving, big blocks and great defense – and it worked,’’ he said. ‘’We have lots of preparation left to do in the next few weeks before heading to London – but we’re ready. All we want to do now is to represent our country well and bring back some hardware.’’
Hugh Wong, Volleyball Canada’s president, was delighted with the spectacle he saw on Saturday.
‘’This is what the game of beach volleyball is all about – amazing athletes toughing it out for the biggest prize of them all – a spot at the Olympic Games. We congratulate all four teams which had combined forces two weeks ago to earn Canada its spots for London.’’
From Victoria’s Times Colonist:
From ‘A’ for swimmer Alec Page of Victoria to ‘Z’ for soccer player Emily Zurrer of Crofton, it is done.
Seal it, stamp it and send it bound for London.
The last of the more than 45 Island athletes bound for the 2012 Summer Olympics — Martin Reader of Comox — qualified Saturday in a dramatic winner-take-all game for Canada’s lone me’s beach volleyball berth at London as the team of Reader and Josh Binstock of Toronto defeated Chris Redmann of Toronto and Ben Saxton of Calgary 21-18, 21-14 at Ashbridges Bay in Toronto.
Reader, who also models and grew up snowboarding on Mount Washington and windsurfing at Tofino, is a former volleyball captain of the Camosun College Chargers and 2004 B.C. college player of the year.
Now, he can also call himself an Olympian.
“A lot of things culminated today to make the greatest moment of my life,” said Reader, by phone from Toronto.
Making the moment even more special was that dad Norman and mom Patrisha flew to the qualifier from Comox and were the first to rush the sand court after their son won his spot in the Olympics.
“I couldn’t have done what I’ve done if they didn’t do all the things they did for me over 28 years,” said Reader.
The graduate of Highland Secondary in Comox said there was pressure but that he and Binstock shed it well.
“It was pretty intense but we felt we had no option but to get this Olympic berth,” said Reader.
An astonishing 15 per cent of the Canadian Olympic team to London will be comprised of Island athletes or those who train on the Island.
“It’s the culture of the place, and the support you get in sports while growing up there,” said Reader.
“There are community leaders up and down the Island who inspire athletes. Their passion for sport is why I am where I am today.”
The Canadian Olympic Committee is set to name its final athlete roster for London, including flag-bearer, this week.
The Summer Games open July 27