Canada opens women's sitting volleyball World Cup with win over Brazil

Sarah Melenka in action for Canada at the women's sitting volleyball World Cup, where Canada opened its tournament with a 3-1 win over Brazil on Monday in Cairo. (Photo courtesy of Volleyball Canada - image credit)
Sarah Melenka in action for Canada at the women's sitting volleyball World Cup, where Canada opened its tournament with a 3-1 win over Brazil on Monday in Cairo. (Photo courtesy of Volleyball Canada - image credit)

Canada opened the 2023 WPV Sitting Volleyball World Cup with a victory over Brazil on Monday in Cairo.

No. 2 Canada got its toughest competition out of the way in its first game, dispatching the No. 3-ranked Brazilian team 3-1 (15-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-20).

"Being in our first World Cup I think the nerves got the best of us in the first set against an opponent who we lost last to in the world championships a year ago," said team Canada setter Sarah Melenka to Volleyball Canada. "We brushed off the first set really quick, the team stuck it out, we played with grit, for each other, the flag on our chest and for our families back at home."

Next up for Canada will be games against No. 7 Slovenia and No. 8 Ukraine on Tuesday, before closing out Group F play against No. 28 Netherlands on Wednesday.

Slovenia is currently on top of the Group F standings at 2-0 with victories over Ukraine and the Netherlands.

Four teams from each of Group E and Group F will qualify for Thursday's quarterfinals, with the semifinals set to follow on Friday.

The gold and bronze-medal matches will commence on Saturday.

2024 Paralympics spot on the line

Brazil's victory over Canada in the gold-medal game of the 2022 world championships last November in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, secured a quota spot for the South American country at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Four other teams - China, France, Italy and the United States - have also qualified for Paris 2024, with three spots left up for grabs.

Of the five qualified countries, only Brazil and China are participating in the 10-team tournament in Egypt.

The highest ranked team at the tournament outside of Brazil and China will also punch its ticket to Paris.

After Canada, No. 6 Rwanda is the highest-ranked team competing in Egypt that has not qualified for the Paralympics, posting a 2-1 record so far in Group E play.

No. 5 China, No. 9 Germany, No. 15 Egypt and No. 23 Mongolia are also competing in Group E.

The remaining two Paralympic spots will be determined at the 2023 ParaVolley Africa Championships (date to be determined) and the 2024 Paralympic Qualification Tournament in Dali, China, in April.

The Canadian women have competed at the last two Paralympic games, finishing seventh in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, and finishing just off the podium in Tokyo in 2021, losing to Brazil in the bronze-medal game.

Canada roster
  • Julie Kozun (Melfort, Sask.)
  • Danielle Ellis (White Rock, B.C.)
  • Jennifer Oakes (Calgary)
  • Angelena Dolezar (St. Albert, Alta.)
  • Anne Fergusson (Carleton Place, Ont.)
  • Jolan Wong (Vermilion, Alta.)
  • Sarah Melenka (Vegreville, Alta.)
  • Jayme Lepp (Vancouver)
  • Heidi Peters (Neerlandia, Alta.)
  • Katelyn Wright (Edmonton)
  • Felicia Voss-Shafiq (Burnaby, B.C.)
  • Jennifer McCreesh (Smithers, B.C.)
  • Allison Lang (Edmonton)