Former Canadian teammates turn rivals at the opening of Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals

The Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals starts with an upset

TORONTO, Sept. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - Hundreds of fans witnessed the most exciting country quota match in the history of the sport at the opening of the 2016 Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals at Polson Pier Toronto.  The stage is now set for what will come over the next five days as the best 24 teams vie for "Olympic revenge" in the battle for the biggest prize in beach volleyball.

The Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals started with an upset: Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson overcame Sarah Pavan and her new partner Melissa Humana-Paredes in two straight sets 23-21, 21-13. After the team split following the Rio Olympic games most experts expected Sarah Pavan to take the last wild card position for the Toronto showdown, but her former partner Heather Bansley proved them wrong.

"It was weird," Heather Bansley said. "The last four seasons I played with Sarah. Brandie and I only had two weeks to prepare for this match. It is a thrill that we could win it." Now all is set for the Canadian festival on Polson Pier, beside Bainsley/Wilkerson there are three more Canadian teams involved in the finals: Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas on the women's side, Josh Binstock/Sam Schachter and Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk in the men's bracket.

It is only the second time the beach volleyball elite meets for the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals after the inaugural event last year in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In Toronto Talita Antunes /Larissa Franca and the gold medalists from Rio, Alison Cerutti/Bruno Schmidt, both from Brazil, will give their best to defend the titles and win the $ 100.000 USD prize.

Toronto fans will have the chance to see the biggest names in beach volleyball go head-to-head from September 13-18 at Polson Pier - admission is free at all times for the event.


Follow along with all the action via the below handles
Instagram: @swatchmajorseries / @RedBullCanada / @RedBull 
Twitter: @SwatchMajors / @RedBullCanada / @RedBull 
Facebook: Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series / Red Bull

The Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series arose out of a joint venture between the Austrian Companies Red Bull and Hannes Jagerhofer, founder and CEO of the ACTS group. Red Bull, established in the 1980's by Dietrich Mateschitz, is one of the world's most famous brands, its direct marketing focusing on sports and lifestyle. ACTS Group, an agency founded in 1990, is a full service provider of event-marketing, external communication and online services and famous in the world of sports for its outstanding organizational qualities shown at the Beach Volleyball tournament in Klagenfurt/Carinthia. The collaboration of a worldwide successful brand and an experienced promoter takes Beach Volleyball to a whole new level. Furthermore another strong partner is on board: Swatch supports the sport and its athletes, being title sponsor of the Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series. It displays a cooperation in order to develop Beach Volleyball as the world's number one summer sports event and to achieve the following vision: "Establish Beach Volleyball as a multimedial sports-entertainment event for athletes, fans & partners."

SOURCE Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series

Image with caption: "Heather Bansley (CAN) and Brandie Wilkerson (CAN) (CNW Group/Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series)". Image available at:

For further information: Caroline Dunnet, Edelman, 647-252-2864/416-816-9947,; Victoria Neufeld, Edelman, 416-849-8921,


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