Manitoba will be well represented in men’s volleyball at the Olympics

Canada's volleyball team members celebrate after a win over China during their Men's Volleyball World Olympic qualification tournament match in Tokyo, Sunday, June 5, 2016. AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

Volleyball Canada officially named the team that will be representing Canada in men’s volleyball at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio.

There are three Manitoba connections on the squad. Winnipeg’s Justin Duff was one of 12 played nominated on Friday. The six-foot-seven middle is a former first team All-Canadian with the Winnipeg Wesmen and was chosen as their athlete of the year in 2010. The now 28-year-old Duff played four seasons with the Wesmen from 2006-2010.

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Former Manitoba Bison TJ Sanders was also selected. The 24-year-old was born in Winnipeg but now calls London, Ontario home. Sanders plays professionally for Arkas Spor in Turkey.

Wesmen men’s volleyball head coach Larry McKay is an assistant coach for the team.

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Despite helping Canada qualify a team in men’s volleyball at the Olympics for the first time in 24 years, Rivers, Manitoba’s Toon van Lankvelt was left off the final roster. Former Manitoba Bison Dan Lewis also played in the World Olympic qualification tournament for Canada, but was also not chosen for the Olympic team.

Canada is in a pool with some of the top-ranked countries including Brazil, Italy, France, the United States and Mexico. The preliminary round starts on August 7, with the quarterfinals to begin on August 17. The medal matches will be contested on August 21.

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