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Double Gold for Ontario Athletes at Commonwealth Youth Games

By Ontario Volleyball Association, 08/11/23, 2:00PM EDT


From left: Kiki Drozd, Oliver Toomes, Andon Kiriakou, Calinda Kok

Four Ontario athletes made history at the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games when they stood atop the podium with golds around their necks in Trinidad and Tobago. Calinda Kok, Kiki Drozd and Andon Kiriakou, Oliver Toomes were the best in their divisions in beach volleyball in a field of athletes of the Commonwealth nations.

Kok/Drozd took the tournament by storm, never dropping a set in their run which culminated in a victory over Australia for the gold. Kirkiakou/Toomes also dominated their side of the bracket, dropping their only set to England in their first match who they then beat in the finals to claim the gold.  Andrew Kos was the Team Lead for Canada at the games. The teams were selected to compete in these games through a trial process in June.

Since 2020 the athletes have been training and competing with Team Ontario through the Team O Beach Full Time program before starting their training with the national team this year. This would not be the girls' first time on the international stage as they got a taste of it at the 2022 FIVB Beach U19 World Championships in Turkiye - a tournament where Ontario's  Ruby Sorra and Emma Glagau clinched the bronze medal.  Kirkiakou also competed at this event with fellow Team Ontario beach athlete Jack Svendsen. 

The four were regularly top forces provincially and nationally, being no strangers to the podium and top placements at the Beach Ontario Championships and even at nationals. The win at Trinbago 2023 can be marked as a definite stepping stone to propel them to that next level.

The future for the athletes is looking bright with commitments to top universities. Kok and Kiriakou are California bound, signing with the University of Southern California (USC) and University of California - Irvine, respectively. USC is where both Sophie Bukovec and Alexandra Polleto competed. Toomes will be competing at Western University and Drozd will be heading to Stetson University in the Fall of 2023.

Trinbago 2023 is the seventh installment of the Commonwealth Youth Games which started in 2000 in Edinburgh, Scotland and is the second games to include beach volleyball (included as an event in the Bahamas 2017 games).

Complete results from Trinbago 2023 found here.