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With the Rio Paralympics starting today VSN takes a look at some Victoria and Island-based athletes who are medal potentials.
Michelle Stillwell – Athletics
This will probably be Stillwell’s last Paralympics after a record that includes five Paralympics and four gold medals (three in para-athletics and one in wheelchair basketball). A MLA in B.C. for Parksville-Qualicum, after winning the basketball gold in Sidney in 2000, she switched to para-athletics and will be defending her 2012 gold medal in the woman's T52 200m race.
Ness Murby – Athletics
Murby excels in four events – discus, javelin, shotput and powerlifting. She is the IBSA women’s powerlifting world champion and has broken world records at the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 World Championships and Games. In 2015, she collected silver in the javelin and bronze in the discus at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games. A few weeks later at the IPC World Championships she won another silver medal in javelin.
Liam Stanley – Athletics
This will be Stanley’s first games qualifying for the team in the T37 1500-m. A former soccer player and Canadian para-soccer player of the year in 2013 and 2014, he switched to athletics and quickly got the attention of Bruce Deacon, two-time Olympian, and coach, who saw his potential in the 1500 m.
John McRoberts and Jackie Gay – Sailing
A husband and wife team in the SKUD18 class, this will be McRoberts fourth Paralympics and Gay’s first. McRoberts won a bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics and a silver at Atlanta in 1996. They won silver and bronze in the Garda Olympic Week event early in the year, and a bronze medal in the Para-Worlds. In 2013 they were awarded the 2013 Sail Canada Team of the Year.
Bruce Millar – Sailing
This will be Millar’s third Paralympic Games after representing Canada in London 2012 and Athens 2004. He races in the highly competitive 2.4mR solo class. He is hoping to podium after finishing second in the 2016 Miami World Cup.
Wheelchair Rugby Team
The Canadian Wheelchair Rugby squad train in Victoria and they won a silver medal at London 2012 and a gold medal at the Parapan American Games in Toronto last summer. The team is ranked No. 1 in the world and includes veteran Trevor Hirschfield from Parksville, Zak Madell and Byron Green. Nine athletes will be returning from the team that won silver four years ago in London.
Stefan Daniels – Triathlon
Para-triathlon makes its debut at Rio and Daniels, who hails from Calgary, trains in Victoria, which is now the national training centre for Triathlon Canada. In 2015, he won the gold medal at the para-triathlon World Championships in Chicago after winning a bronze and silver medal in his first two trips to the para-triathlon worlds, in 2013 and 2014. The para-triathlon comprises a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.
PISE in Victoria is the home of the National Para-Rowing Centre so where better for Megan Montgomery, Victoria Nolan, Curtis Halladay and Andrew Todd to train? In 2015, Curtis Halladay helped Canada win a bronze medal in the LTA4+ (mixed coxed four crew) at the world rowing championships. Todd was also on the crew that won a bronze medal and in June 2016 they won gold at the World Cup III regatta in Poznan, Poland. Montgomery rowed in the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games and is a five-time world championship team member. Nolan also participated in the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games and is a 2010 world champion gold medalist.
The Paralympic Games runs from September 7 – 18.