Wilkerson, Humana-Paredes: Canada’s ‘ultimate dream team’ reunite for Olympic beach volleyball quest


Natural partnership. Love this pair. Ultimate dream group for Canada.

This is a sampling of the suggestions from Brandie Wilkerson’s Instagram account after she teamed with Melissa Humana-Paredes and beat rising American beach volleyball stars Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth within the Sept. 4 remaining of the AVP Pro Tour’s Chicago Open.

At the time, Wilkerson’s common taking part in accomplice, Sophie Bukovec, was recovering from a sprained proper hand.

Just a few weeks later, Wilkerson was coy a couple of potential future partnership on the sand with Humana-Paredes, telling CBC Sports: “She can play AVP [tourneys] and Sophie cannot, so perhaps folks will see us play extra.”

Well, followers will see much more of Wilkerson and Humana-Paredes after Volleyball Canada introduced Friday they are going to be working collectively in a quest for a medal on the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In August, Humana-Paredes of Toronto break up from Sarah Pavan, her accomplice of 5 years with whom she received a 2019 world title and second Commonwealth Games gold medal this previous summer time. Pavan will now group with Bukovec, who received world silver in June with Wilkerson of their first season collectively.

WATCH | Pavan, Humana-Paredes eradicated at 2022 worlds:

FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Rome 2022 quarter-finals: Canada vs. Brazil

Watch Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes tackle Brazil’s Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos in quarter-final motion on the 2022 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Rome.

“We are thrilled to see these high athletes, who’ve labored so laborious on the highest stage and know what it takes to achieve the rostrum, type new groups because the world seems to be forward to Paris 2024,” Volleyball Canada president and CEO Mark Eckert stated in a press release. “It will likely be very thrilling to observe.”

Playing with Humana-Paredes in Chicago with Bukovec in attendance, stated the 30-year-old Wilkerson, “was like reuniting with a buddy. We’re the identical age. We began our [2010-11] rookie yr at York University [in Toronto] collectively. I’ve watched her be the star she is.

“To come collectively as soon as, lastly, on the identical aspect of the online, there was a lot appreciation for what we have performed, so it was simple to click on.”

Wilkerson, an athletic outdoors hitter indoors at York, was rookie of the yr of the ladies’s group in 2011, an all-star all 4 years and completed among the many then-Ontario University Association leaders in factors per set.

‘Same circle of associates’

Humana-Paredes was a proficient left aspect participant who topped York gamers in her rookie season with 3.06 digs per set, was the varsity’s feminine athlete of the yr in 2012 and twice earned OUA first-team all-star honours.

“Mel and I have been the one rookies that began at York and stayed within the beginning lineup all 4 years. We have been on the courtroom on a regular basis collectively and have the identical circle of associates,” stated Wilkerson, a local of Innisfil, Ont., thought of probably the greatest blockers on the beach circuit.

“We have been each extraordinarily aggressive, decided to win and fearless. I feel [Humana-Paredes] took extra of a frontrunner and captain position. I used to be new to the game and there to look at, study and take in, and I discovered loads from her.”

Before graduating, they have been taking part in varsity indoor volleyball and coaching beach on the identical time. Eventually, they pursued beach full-time and have been named alternates for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“That’s the place we obtained to know one another extra personally,” Wilkerson stated, “and clearly that helped us as a result of from then on, we each had an opportunity to complete first on the earth and do tremendous nicely with our respective companions.”

Last February, Wilkerson break up from Heather Bansley a month earlier than the latter introduced her retirement. They as soon as held the world No.1 rating and positioned fifth on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Wilkerson stated her and Bukovec jumped instantly into competitors and did not get a pre-season, in order that they determined to chop their season brief in late September after not qualifying for the quarter-finals on the Paris Elite16 occasion. They ranked ninth on the earth as of Oct. 17.

WATCH | Canadians fall to U.S. duo in Paris:

FIVB Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 Paris: Canada vs United States

Canadians Sophie Bukovec and Brandie Wilkerson tackle Americans Betsi Flint and Kelly Cheng in Paris.

Wilkerson and the six-foot Bukovec, an undersized blocker-turned defender, did not make it out of the qualifying spherical of their first event on the season-opening Challenger competitors in Tlaxcala, Mexico.

After a fifth-place end in April in Itapema, Brazil, the Canadians received the NORCECA San Marcos event in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Wilkerson and Bukovec, who spent the earlier yr grinding it out at one-star occasions, shortly developed chemistry on the sand and entered their fourth event in June — the world championships in Rome — because the twentieth seed in a 48-team area. They completed second and went on to tie for fifth of their subsequent two competitions earlier than the Volleyball World Pro Beach Tour occasion in Paris.

Countries can ship solely two groups per gender to the Summer Games. The Olympic rating qualification interval for the Paris Games runs from Jan. 1, 2023 to June 9, 2024, with the very best 12 occasions per group counting towards rating.

The winner of the 2023 world championships earn an automated Olympic berth.

WATCH | Wilkerson, Bukovec group for silver medal at worlds:

Canada falls to Brazil in beach volleyball world championship remaining

Brazil’s Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos defeated Canada’s Sophie Bukovec and Brandie Wilkerson in straight units to win the gold medal on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship in Rome.

For extra tales in regards to the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success tales throughout the Black group — try Being Black in Canada, a CBC undertaking Black Canadians may be happy with. You can learn extra tales right here.



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