Wheelchair Rugby Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee have announced the 12 athletes nominated for selection to Team Canada for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this September.
Canada is currently ranked world No. 1 in wheelchair rugby for the first time in 13 years after winning gold at both the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games and the 2015 World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge. Now, the team is focused on winning its first ever Paralympic gold medal, after claiming silver at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
“Last year, we got our first taste of gold in over a decade. We’ll be carrying that feeling into Rio,” said Head Coach Kevin Orr. “We are working daily to prepare tactically, technically, psychologically and physically for a gold medal in Rio. We’re ready to go.”
“Congratulations to the wheelchair rugby players nominated today for their dedication to excellence, rigorous preparations and high performance focus,” said Team Canada Chef de Mission Chantal Petitclerc. “Wheelchair rugby promises to be an extremely exciting contest in Rio that will have fans on the edge of their seats. I can’t wait to cheer on the Canadian players as they charge forward in pursuit of their goals.”
“Canada’s wheelchair rugby athletes have been tenacious and focused on pushing every day toward the top of the podium at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games,” said Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s Minister for Sport and Persons with Disabilities. ”Congratulations to all of the athletes named today to Team Canada and thank you to the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association, to the coaches, and to dedicated family members who have supported and encouraged these athletes on their path to Rio.”
Team Canada will draw on extensive competitive experience in its Rio campaign. Nine athletes will be returning from the team that won silver four years ago in London.
Canada’s last competition before Rio will take place on home soil at the 2016 Canada Cup International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament from June 23-26 in Richmond, B.C. Seven of the world’s top teams – including rivals USA and Australia – will compete.
The athletes nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Team are:
Miranda Biletski (Regina, Sask.)
Cody Caldwell (Peterborough, Ont.)
Ian Chan * (Richmond, B.C.)
Patrice Dagenais (C) * (Embrun, Ont.)
Byron Green (Courtenay, B.C.)
Trevor Hirschfield (C) * (Parksville, B.C.)
Fabien Lavoie * (Quebec City, Que.)
Zak Madell * (Okotoks, Alta.)
Travis Murao * (Richmond, B.C.)
Patrice Simard * (Quebec City, Que.)
Mike Whitehead * (Windsor, Ont.)
David Willsie * (Dorchester, Ont.)
*denotes past Paralympic Games experience