Kristina Valjas and Jamie Broder

Kristina Valjas and Jamie Broder

Saanich’s Broder wins gold at world volleyball tour

Saanich raised Jamie Broder takes big step closer to Olympics, wins Canada’s first FIVB World beach tour gold medal in China

Saanich raised Jamie Broder took a big step closer to the Olympics on Sunday winning her, and Canada’s, first FIVB World beach tour gold medal with teammate Kristina Valjas in Fuzhou, China.

The beach volleyball duo broke out in 2013 as a promising Canadian tandem and are now a step closer to qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“It’s a great starting-off point, I mean the first tournament of the year and we’re in Olympic qualification,” Broder said.

“It’s awesome to have such a strong start and I think it’s just something we can continue to build on and use to feel confidence for future events.”

Broder, 29, is a Claremont secondary grad while Valjas, 27, hails from Toronto. They split $11,000 for the win after they went undefeated in seven matches in Fuzhou.

On the final day of competition, they beat U.S. veteran and former Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh and her current partner, London 2012 silver-medalist April Ross.The Canadians beat Germany in the final.

“The race for the Pan Am Games (Toronto) and Rio has begun, and Jamie and Kristina have announced that Canadian beach volleyball is world class,” said Steve Anderson, head coach of Volleyball Canada’s beach program.

The next tournament is May 12 to 17 in Lucerne, Switzerland.