Does a breakthrough moment await Canadian Sam Pedlow at the FIVB Tokyo Beach Volleyball Qualification tournament in China
Toronto, Canada, September 13, 2019 - Although the 2018-2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour regular season is complete, Sam Pedlow and Sam Schachter still have one more event to prepare for as the Canadians seek to earn an Olympic berth for their country at next week's FIVB Tokyo Beach Volleyball Qualification tournament in Haiyang, China.
Currently listed No. 24 on the FIVB World Tour men’s ranking list and only 380 points behind the pairs listed in the 15th spot, Pedlow said the 2018-2019 international beach volleyball season was "so competitive that there really are no easy matches.”
The 32-year-old Pedlow added “it doesn’t matter if a team is ranked inside or outside the top 20, I think so many teams are capable of winning tournaments. I truly believe that we are one of those teams, we have been very consistent over the last two seasons and are just looking for that breakthrough moment."
With 13 of the FIVB World Tour's top 25-ranked teams competing in the Haiyang event, Pedlow and Schachter will be competing in their second qualification tournament with their first being in July 2016 at Sochi, Russia, where Pedlow played with Grant O'Gorman and Schachter played with Josh Binstock.
At the Sochi event for teams that finished second, third or fourth in the FIVB Continental Cup pathway to the Rio 2016 Olympics, Pedlow (Grant O'Gorman) and Schachter (Josh Binstock) played with different partners as Team Canada were successful in capturing a spot for the Copacabana Summer Games for their country.
With the 2016 Continental Cup Finals featuring a best-two-of-three country vs. country match format, Team Canada secured another spot in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for their nation by defeating Venezuela 2-1 with Pedlow and O'Gorman winning the deciding set on July 10, 2016.
With Binstock's retirement from international play following the Rio Games, the Pedlow/Schachter partnership started in February 2017 and the pair has played in 29 FIVB World Tour events together with 18 top-nine finishes. The Canadians' top placement was a fourth at a mid-October event in 2018 at Yangzhou, China.
After placing 33rd in their last FIVB event together in Rome on September 4, Pedlow said "like any season, I think we have demonstrated that we are capable of being one of the best teams in the world. We have yet to consistently bring our best week after week, but I know that our processes are leading us in the right direction. Rome was a little bit of a hiccup, but nothing we are investing too much mental energy into. We know we are on the right track and are ready to continue with a strong effort in Haiyang."
The FIVB Tokyo Beach Volleyball Qualification tournament is one of three pathways for Pedlow and Schachter to pursue to reach their goal of playing together in the 2020 Summer Games in Japan. The pair is currently ranked 13th on the Tokyo Olympic provisional list with 5,620 points for their best 12 finishes together since the start of the process in September 2020.
When asked about pursuing a spot in the NORCECA Continental Cup competition with Saxton and O'Gorman as the second Canadian team, Pedlow said, "of course this is one route, but our hope is to secure a berth through the qualifier in China or finishing in the top 15 on the FIVB World Tour Olympic ranking list. If not and the Continental Cup represents an opportunity to secure a second spot in the same manner as 2016, we'll be ready."