Thirty-eight participants were #PARATOUGH at the first ever Paralympian Search held by the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) on November 14. The event offered individuals with a physical disability or visual impairment the opportunity to test their potential in a high performance environment with the hope of becoming a future Paralympian.
Representatives from Wheelchair Basketball, Alpine Canada, Cross Country Canada, Cycling Canada, and Hockey Canada were inspired by the athletes’ determination as they were put through a series of tests by staff from the CSI Calgary. Tests included anthropometric measurements, wheelchair or running sprints, vertical jumps, medicine ball tosses, grip strength, and endurance using an arm ergometer or velotron bike.
Jason Poole, Director of Performance Services at the CSI Calgary, declared the event to be an exceptional day for Paralympic sport. He emphasized, “The CSI Calgary is happy to collaborate with the CPC to identify potential athletes and to show them a path into sport. The Paralympian Search is a great initiative with many different partners including the CPC, the National Sport Organizations (NSOs), and the COPSI Network.”
Athlete Ambassador Matt Hallat, a three-time Paralympian, fuelled the athletes’ determination by kicking off the event with a rousing speech. He was impressed by the number of people who bravely tested their athletic skills, saying, “It’s amazing how many people showed up. Paralympian Search is great because people across the country can get into sports and be active for life.” Also present were current athletes such as cyclist Brayden McDougall, a 2008 and 2012 Paralympian, who was able to challenge himself in the testing environment.
Catherine Gosselin-Després, Executive Director, Sport for the CPC, was also impressed with the number of attendees and their desire to participate in sport. “The next step is to provide the test results to the NSOs,” she said. “They will make the decision to either invite the athletes into a high performance program or provide them with other options for participation based on the profile identified throughout the testing phase. Everyone who attended will be contacted and will be getting a response from us and an opportunity to continue in sport.”
The Paralympian Search plans to continue on to Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. CPC is also hopeful that they will be able to add more venues in the coming year.
Don’t miss the chance to see if you are #PARATOUGH. Visit paralympic.ca/paralympian-search to register for future events and find out when the CPC is in a city near you.
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler