With just a week to go until the Rio Paralympic Games, many para-athletes are in Rio or are preparing to leave. Two such athletes are John McRoberts and Jackie Gay who are in the Sail Canada team. They leave on Friday in preparation for their competition that runs from September 12 – 17.
The husband and wife team are in a good position to podium having achieved a bronze medal at Garda Olympic week in Italy earlier this year in their SKUD 18 keelboat. This will be McRoberts’ fourth Olympics and Gay’s first. McRoberts won a bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics and a silver at Atlanta in 1996 so he would love to complete the set with a gold. But he knows anything can happen on the day. “It is the biggest sporting event in the world, and the ranked reams really don’t mean anything as the competition can change on the day.”
The couple train twice a week at PISE. “It is a good training facility with a lot of adapted equipment, and Jonathan Ritchot there is a great trainer,” adds McRoberts. Ranked sixth in the world, they travelled to Rio last September to see the venue, which McRoberts calls ‘fluky.’ As the Olympics saw many of the sailing events were delayed due to the weather. “Wind can make the racing very challenging, but a lot of it is mental and so we are comfortable and confident.”