Canadians secure more spots as one-year countdown to Rio begins

September 10, 2015

Rowing team with bronze medal

Canada has recently gained spots for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in para-canoeing and para-rowing thanks to exceptional performances at the world championships in both sports.

At the world rowing championships which concluded this past weekend in Aiguebelette, France, the newly-formed crew of Victoria Nolan of Toronto, Veronique Boucher of Clarence Creek, Ont., Curtis Halladay of Sudbury, Ont., Andrew Todd of Thunder Bay, Ont., and coxswain Kristen Kit of St. Catharines, Ont., capitalized on perfect conditions to win bronze in the legs/trunk/arms (LTA) mixed coxed four.

With a top-eighth finish the crew qualify a Canadian boat for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games which launched its one-year-to-go countdown on Sept. 8.

“We were so prepared for this race,” said Boucher.  “Both physically and mentally, we nailed it.”

In August at the world canoe and kayak championships in Milan, Italy, Christine Gauthier of Pointe-Claire finished sixth in K-1 200-m to earn Canada a quota spot. Gauthier is a five-time world champion in para-canoe.

In para-triathlon, Stefan Daniel of Calgary will be on the prowl for a Paralympic spot at the ITU World Championships set for September 16-20 in Chicago.  This past weekend in Edmonton, Daniel won the gold medal in the PT4 class at a World Series event.  So far this season he has three gold and a silver at his four World Series stops.

He needs a victory in Chicago to lock up an early berth for Rio.

“That is the best I have ever felt in a triathlon,” said Daniel about his performance in Edmonton. “The bike felt good, but I think that run is the best I have ever done. Now I’m really looking forward to Chicago.”

At the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Canada’s record 168-medal performance was highlighted by Paralympic qualification berths in men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball and goalball, wheelchair rugby, women’s sitting volleyball as well as one spot in women’s table tennis singles.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are set to run from September 7 to 16 next year, just after the Olympics in the Brazilian city, and it promises to be the biggest and most spectacular Paralympic spectacle to date

"If you look at numbers, we've got more athletes than we had in London (in 2012) - 4,350 - and 22 sports," said IPC President Philip Craven in a recent interview. "We're expecting to break for the first time the four billion cumulative TV viewer figure. We've got far more broadcasters already signed up than we had for London at this time (including CBC and Radio-Canada) so things are looking really great."