Canada’s Wilkerson, Bukovec earn women’s world beach volleyball silver

Canada's Brandie Wilkerson goes for the ball during the beach volley semifinal match between Germany's Mueller-Tillmann and Canada's Bukovec-Brandie at the beach volley World Championships in Rome, Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Andrew Medichini/CP, AP)

Canada’s Brandie Wilkerson and Sophie Bukovec claimed silver in the women’s world beach volleyball championship Sunday.

The Toronto duo fell 21-17, 21-19 to Brazil’s Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos in the final in Rome.

Wilkerson, 29, and Bukovec, 26, are a new team having joined forces before this season. The Canadians were seeded 20th in the world championship and lost to the No. 2 seeds Sunday.

“The medal validates the hard work that we’ve put in this season,” Bukovec said. “It gives us a bit of confidence that we are on the right track, and doing the right things to compete with the best in the world.”

The Brazilians had the upper hand for most of the gold-medal final, although the Canadians led 17-16 in the second set.

“We wouldn’t be competitors if we said we were satisfied,” Wilkerson said. “We of course wanted to walk away with the gold, but again, we’re doing the right things and are looking forward to continuing our journey as a team.”

Wilkerson, who is considered one of the best blockers in the women’s beach game, finished fifth in last summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo with Heather Bansley.

Canadian women played in a second straight world final. Toronto’s Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., captured gold in 2019.

Humana-Paredes and Pavan were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Lisboa and Ramos to finish fifth in Rome.

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