2018-07-01 19:59:00 CEST
After winning bronze and silver in the World Tour, the Canadians claimed their first gold in Warsaw
Progress has come literally step-by-step for Canadians Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson in the beach volleyball World Tour. After winning bronze and silver medals in the last two tournaments they played at, the Canadian duo raised the last step and claimed gold in the four-star event in Warsaw, Poland, this weekend.
It was the first gold medal for both athletes, who played in just 15 international tournaments together starting in late 2016, and it came in the country’s national holiday named Canada Day. For Brandie, it was an even more special day as she was also celebrating her 26th birthday.
To top the podium, the Canadians defeated Germans Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude in straight sets (21-17, 21-17) in the gold medal match. Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa claimed bronze after a two-set victory (21-17, 21-18) over Americans Brittany Hochevar and Kelly Claes.
“It feels great! It’s so exciting! I am still processing,” Heather commented after the final. “It was a battle. We expected a tough match. It went back and forth for a little while, but I am proud of the way we kept our heads down, we kept pushing, working hard and fighting all the way to the end.”
622 Likes, 50 Comments - Brandie Wilkerson (@bvuilleumier) on Instagram: "Mama got me a gold necklace for my birthday 😝🥇 @heatherbansley #bestbirthdayever #golden"
Kantor and Losiak win at home
In the men’s tournament, world ranking leaders Bartosz Losiak and Piotr Kantor made the most of their home-court advantage to climb all the way to the top of the podium. In the final, they needed three sets (27-29, 21-13, 15-12) to take down the new Brazilian team of Evandro Goncalves and Vitor Felipe.
It was the second World Tour gold medal to the Polish, who first topped the podium in Rio de Janeiro, in 2016.
“We’ve been waiting for this second gold medal for two years and to get it at home is special,” Losiak commented. “The fans were amazing pushing us and we are happy we could win this one for them.”
Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins took home the bronze medal after another three-set match (21-18, 18-21, 17-15) in which they prevailed over the Netherlands’ Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen.
The World Tour continues next week with a four-star tournament in Espinho, Portugal, and a pair of one-star tournaments in Anapa, Russia, and Poreč, Croatia. These will be the last tournaments before the Beach Major Series resumes with the Swatch Major Gstaad from July 10-15.
Check out how some of the teams set to compete at the World Championships did on their last weekend...
The Brazilians stopped the Norwegians’ run to win their first World Tour gold medals together in Warsaw