Brazil men’s team qualifies for Paris 2024 with win at Pan American qualifier > World ParaVolleyWorld ParaVolley
The Brazil men’s team will be joining their women compatriots to Paris next year for the Paralympic Games after beating the United States 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-19) on Saturday in the final of the 2023 ParaVolley Pan America Zonal Championship in Edmonton at Saville Community Sports Centre.
Brazil took an early lead, rushing to 15-7 and looking like they would build a comfortable finish, but they were quickly pegged back by the United States as they reduced the deficit to within three at 20-17. Back-to-back hits by Leandro and Giba gave Brazil the five-point cushion that they maintained to win the first set at 25-20.
The Brazilians dictated the tempo and built another huge cushion, only to be interrupted once again by the Americans who responded well and trail 15-13 in the second set. However, Brazil’s strong offence kept them afloat as they outscored USA 10-6 in the succeeding plays, claiming a 2-0 lead in the match at 25-19.
Brazil kept their edge over USA with the same pace and intensity on their offence. Even with USA’s string of serving runs, the 2022 World Championship bronze medallists did not allow their challengers to stage a major comeback. A soft drop shot by Giba and a Wellington swing gave Brazil the championship victory at 25-19.
Brazil finished the competition undefeated in five matches, dropping only one set – recorded on the first day against Team USA.
Meanwhile, Canada recorded a 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-11) triumph over Argentina to claim the bronze medal. Argentina started aggressively, challenging the hosts in each rally, but their defence paid the dividends as they secured the first set with a good lead. Canada’s intensity increased in the next two frames, while Argentina’s offence deteriorated, giving the home team an easier path to secure the bronze medal.
The victories of the Canadian men’s team were recorded on the first day and on the last day of competition, both against Argentina.
“You always want to finish with a win. We bounced back and we were able to get a lot of our up-and-coming athletes, so that’s positive,” Canada men’s team coach Jeff Smith said.
“Next steps, we will train for the World Cup and then learn about the last-chance qualifier. I think we have an amazing shot to win the last-chance qualifier. We will refocus and we’ll get back in August and ramp up for the World Cup. We want to be in that top eight.”
The last women’s match between Canada and USA went down to the wire with a close five-set match. The momentum swung back and forth between the two sides, with Canada taking the first and third and USA claiming the second and fourth sets. The final set was just as intense as the score was tied at 14-all. USA got closer by winning the next rally, but the hosts fought back to gain the two-point advantage to win 3-2 (25-19, 20-25, 25-12, 22-25, 17-15).
“We need to focus on the first three games (from this tournament) for the takeaways. We battled hard and we got to 20 in most sets. We really need to go back and look at those games and break down where we are losing points and where we can earn some more points in the future,” Canada coach Nicole Ban said.
“We’re back at it in late June; going to the Netherlands in July and then building toward the World Cup that’s in November, which is when the next qualification opportunity is.”
Six spots have been claimed so far for Paris 2024, two places are for hosts France, one each for the Brazilian women and Iranian men as winners of the 2022 World ParaVolley Sitting Volleyball World Championships, plus one each for the USA women and Brazilian men at the Pan American qualifier.
Five more spots for each gender are still available and will be filled in three more zonal qualifiers and the World Cup scheduled this year and the final qualification tournaments next year.
- United States
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Photo source: ParaVolley Pan America