ON HIS WAY - Red Deer native Chaim Schalk has been tearing up the beach volleyball court at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this past week along with his partner Ben Saxton.

Former RDC players representing Canada in Rio

Chaim Schalk and Gavin Schmitt both going all out in their respective sports

  • Aug. 11, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Canada continues to be superbly represented in the beach volleyball division by a team including Red Deer native Chaim Schalk.

A former Red Deer College Kings player, Schalk, and his teammate, Ben Saxton, have been creating quite a stir since the 2016 Olympic Games were launched in Rio last week.

According to the Canadian Olympic Team Official web site, “As a teenager, Schalk asked his father to invest in his future beach volleyball career by building a sand court in their backyard.

“Reluctant at the time, his father now admits the investment paid off as Schalk and partner Saxton ended the 2015 season as the top-ranked Canadian men’s team on the FIVB World Tour.

“The two Albertans teamed up near the end of the 2012 season, in part because both were in favour of spending more time training in California with the top American teams. They won their first tournament together, a NORCECA event in Chula Vista, cementing the partnership.

“Another early highlight was a fifth place finish at the 2013 World Championships in Stare Joblonki, Poland for Canada’s best ever men’s result at the global event, after defeating one of the top teams in the world, Latvia’s Jānis Šmēdiņš and Aleksandrs Samoilovs. Saxton and Schalk went on to reach their first ever FIVB World Tour podium in 2014, claiming bronze at the Parana Open in Argentina.

“They closed the season with a victory at the NORCECA continental championship. Their 2015 season included podium finishes at the Yokohama and Olsztyn Grand Slam events. They reached a Major Series podium for the first time in July 2016, taking bronze in Porec, Croatia.”

Keith Hansen, former Kings Volleyball Head Coach, said in a release that, “(Chaim) was a setter on the Kings team, but he was also an all-around great player.”

According to the release, Schalk grew up playing beach volleyball in his backyard at his family’s acreage near Red Deer, and he decided to officially pursue this side of the game in 2009, making the national team that year.

Meanwhile, Schalk has called his participation at the Olympics a dream come true.

So far this week, the pair have put up a 1-1 record in preliminary round action at Copacabana Beach, notably coming within just two points of upsetting the number-one ranked team of Šmēdiņš and Samoilovs in their opening match on Sunday night. The pair then went on to defeat Brazilians Pedro Solberg and Evandro Junior in three sets early Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, the Canadian men’s volleyball team clinched their spot for the Olympics with former Kings player, Gavin Schmitt, who has been an integral piece in the team’s success.

Schmitt and Schalk both agree that their time at RDC helped to shape their lives and their athletic careers.

“Gavin is one of the strongest players on the national team, and he was at RDC during the 2006-07 season he actually hit the last ball to win the national title during our eight-in-a-row run,” said Hansen.

Schmitt and the Canadians kicked off the men’s tournament in a big way, Saturday, as they upset the heavily-favoured United States team in straight sets in their opening game. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t pull off two upsets in a row as they fell 3-1 to Team Brazil on Tuesday night.

Both Schmitt and Schalk are back in action in Rio on Thursday, with Saxon and Schalk getting the day underway with an early-morning match with Cuba starting at 8 a.m. MST. Later on in the day, Schmitt and Team Canada will hit the court to meet with France. That one gets underway at 2:05 p.m. MST.

-Cormier

 

Just Posted

WCPS uses cannabis legislation to fully review drug, alcohol and tobacco policies

Cannabis is not permitted in schools; WCPS focused on providing education and support

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

Alberta readies itself for cannabis sales with 17 stores (for now) and a new provincial website

Lacombe Mayor Creasey says enforcement of cannabis bylaws dependant upon adherence

Recreational cannabis becomes legal this week in Canada

UPDATE: Lacombe Generals split weekend games after losing in Stony Plain

Lacombe shows off offensive repertoire against Ft. Sask; comes up just short against the Eagles

Darrell Paulovich remembered after accident claims his life

A tragic accident claimed the life of a rodeo advocate over the weekend

WATCH: Ground-breaking ceromony held for Charis Village Seniors Housing project

$22 million development will include 10 duplexes and 46-unit complex

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

After 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird puppeteer retiring

The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Britain, EU decide to take some time in getting Brexit right

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “we need much time, much more time and we continue to work in the next weeks.”

Parole denied for convicted killer-rapist Paul Bernardo after 25 years in prison

Paul Bernardo plead for release on Wednesday by arguing he has done what he could to improve himself during his 25 years in prison.

B.C. Lions look to cement CFL playoff spot with victory over Eskimos

B.C. can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos

Canada ban on asbestos takes effect but mining residues are exempt

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna plans to announce the new regulations implementing the ban on Thursday in Ottawa

UPDATE: Aurora Rafer has been found unharmed

RCMP have a man in custody and continue to investigate

Most Read