Bansley and Bukovec of Canada Win the Ticket to Paris

TLAXCALA, Mexico, June 23, 2024.- Canadians Heather Bansley and Sophie Bukovec took a moment to savor their victory and realize they had the ticket to Paris in their hands. They ended up hugging on the sand, with tears blending with the rain. It was a hug that symbolized sacrifice and hard work, tears of joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment.

This was the scene at the final match of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Olympic Qualifying  in Tlaxcala, Mexico, which granted the NORCECA Continental berth for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Facing Bansley and Bukovec were the Mexican duo of Atenas Gutiérrez and Susana Torres, who fought hard but ultimately fell 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) in front of their home crowd, which, despite the rain, remained undiscouraged and continued cheering for the local team.

Atenas Gutiérrez , MEX defense

“This is incredible, yes. I am very proud and proud of myself, Sophie, and our team. Our goal was to qualify for Paris this weekend, and that’s what we did. I am overjoyed. I am very proud of Sophie as an athlete and as a person, and to be by her side to help her achieve her goal of becoming an Olympian has been very special. I am happy to be a part of this team,” Bansley said.

Bukovec added, “This has been a dream for a long time. These will be my first Olympic Games. This will be Heather’s third. So, I am very excited to do this alongside her. There is no one else I would rather share a court with than Heather”.

To reach the gold medal match, Bansley and Bukovec defeated the Puerto Rican team of Allanis Navas and María González in the semifinals 2-0 (21-17, 21-19). In the other semifinal, Gutiérrez/Torres overcame Julibeth Payano and Crismil Paniagua from the Dominican Republic 2-0 (21-13, 21-18).

The Puerto Rican pair Allanis Navas and María González won the bronze medal after defeating Julibeth Payano and Crismil Paniagua from the Dominican Republic in straight sets, 2-0 (25-23, 21-14).

Results Final Day

Gold Medal: Heather Bansley/Sophie Bukovec d Atenas Gutiérrez/Susana Torres 2-0 (21-16, 21-17); Bronze Medal: Navas/Gonzalez PUR d Payano/Paniagua DOM 2-0 (25-23, 21-14);  5th Lopez/Lolette NCA d Alvarado/Orellana A GUA 2-1 (14-21, 21-18, 16-14); 7th Núñez/Quesada CRC d Bennett/Buckner ISV  2-0 (21-15, 21-12); 9th  Vigil/Tovar ESA d Thornia/Stafford GRN  2-0 (21-10, 21-18); 11th   Balkaran/Tammenga SUR d A. Delapenha/B Delapenha CAY 2-0 (21-8, 21-6). Positions 5-8: Lopez/Lolette NCA d Bennett/Buckner ISV 2-0 (21-14, 21-17);  Alvarado/Orellana A GUA d Núñez/Quesada CRC  2-1 (20-22, 21-17, 15-11). Semifinales: Gutierrez/Torres MEX d Payano/Paniagua DOM 2-0 (21-13, 21-18); Bansley/Bukovec d Navas/González PUR 2-0 (21-17, 21-19)