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October 24, 2023
Twenty-four athletes selected to represent Canada in Chile, November 17-26
OTTAWA – Twenty-four wheelchair basketball players have been selected to represent Canada at the 2023 Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Wheelchair Basketball Canada announced on Tuesday.
Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team – WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL – Women’s Team
Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team – WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL – Men’s Team
Santiago 2023 is a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games – one spot is available in each of the men’s and women’s competitions, with the gold medallists on each side qualifying for next summer’s Games.
Nine members of the women’s team are returning from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, including co-captains Cindy Ouellet and Tara Llanes. Sofia Fassi-Fehri, Bethany Johnson, and Desiree Isaac-Pictou will make their multi-sport Games debuts in Santiago.
“We know it’s a big competition for Paris qualification – probably the most important one we’ve had so far with this group,” said Ouellet. “There’s one opportunity in Chile. We’re going to compete at our best, and we’re going to come out ready to compete. We know Brazil will be tough, and the U.S. is always a formidable opponent.
“We’ll do our best. We’ve been working on the team culture, and we’ll be ready.”
The women’s team finished fifth in Tokyo and fifth at the 2022 IWBF World Championships in Dubai. They are the second-ranked team from the Americas, behind the United States.
At the 2019 Parapan Am Games in Lima, Kady Dandeneau and Arinn Young paced Canada past the Americans to win gold.
The women will play in Group A against Brazil, El Salvador, and Colombia. The competition commences in Santiago on November 18 and ends with the medal games on November 24.
The team will compete at the Parapan Am Games in honour of Maude Jacques. Jacques, a longtime senior women’s national team member, returned to the sport this season after retiring in 2020. A London 2012 Paralympian, Jacques passed away at 31 earlier this month. She was to be part of the team representing Canada in Santiago.
“We have a good team going to Santiago. Our focus is winning,” Ouellet added. “We’re going to be playing for Maude.”
On the men’s side, co-captains Nik Goncin and Bo Hedges, along with Patrick Anderson, are among the 11 returning members from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Reed De’Aeth will make his multi-sport Games debut after suiting up with the national team at the 2022 Americas Cup and 2022 IWBF World Championships.
“We’ve got a good group of athletes, which has been consistent with our last few major events and tournaments, so that allows us to build as we move forward,” said Hedges. “I’m excited about Santiago, and I think our group is ready for the tournament.”
Canada finished eighth in Tokyo and was sixth at the 2022 IWBF World Championships. Canada is ranked second in the Americas zone, behind the United States.
Canada won silver at the 2019 Parapan Am Games, falling to the U.S. in the gold medal game in Lima.
In Santiago, the men will compete in Group A against Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela. The tournament starts November 18 and runs through November 25.
“It’s an important step for qualification for the Paralympics; it always has been,” Hedges said. “It’s a little different now in how it is built out, but you’ve always had to do well at the Parapan American Games to give yourself an opportunity to go to the Paralympics. It’s no different now, and the competition is as strong as it has ever been in our zone, so it’s not going to be an easy tournament.”
“Congratulations to all 24 wheelchair basketball players on their nomination to the team,” said Karolina Wisniewska, co-chef de mission, Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team. “I know each athlete is excited and ready to compete for Canada, and we are proud to have them wear the Canada jersey. We would also like to recognize the loss of Maude Jacques, who was an integral member of the team. We will be 100 per cent behind the women’s team as they play in Maude’s honour at the Games. We are wishing both teams the best of luck in Santiago, and will be there to cheer them on.”
“I am so pleased to welcome the women’s and men’s wheelchair basketball teams to the Canadian Parapan Am Team,” said Josh Vander Vies, co-chef de mission. “The Parapan Am Games has been circled on their calendars for months now, and it’s a critical tournament for them en route to the Paralympic Games. We know the teams will be focused and prepared, and as co-chefs, Karolina and I will be supporting them all the way through.”
The Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games will take place November 17-26, 2023, in Santiago, Chile. Canada is expecting to send a team of approximately 140 athletes.
Before being officially named to the Canadian Parapan Am Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
The current list of athletes nominated to the team can be found HERE. The approved final roster will be announced closer to the start of the Games.