VANCOUVER – The Richmond Oval hosted the first PARALYMPIAN SEARCH in B.C. on Sunday October 22 and for former national boxing champion Leo Sammarelli hopes to be able to get back on the competitive stage in the near future in a new sport.
‘’It’s going to take some time to get use to with new equipment such as a wheelchair,’’ said Sammarelli to Radio-Canada. He was injured only eight months ago. ‘’But I’m confident.’’
PARALYMPIAN SEARCH is an exciting program designed to identify future potential Paralympic athletes. It is a one-day event offering people with a disability the chance to test their abilities and discover which Paralympic sports they are best suited for.
A total of 12 participants attempted the exercises at the Richmond Oval that tested their speed, strength and agility under the supervision of national team coaches and Paralympic sport high performance experts.
National wheelchair rugby player Trevor Hirschfield, a two-time Paralympic Games medallist, was the event ambassador.
‘’It’s an eye-opener for people with a disability to come out and give it a try,’’ said Hirschfield to Global News. ‘’They can find out which sport is best suited to their disability. This is the place to do the testing and get informed.’’
“Paralympic sport has become so competitive in recent years that every country, including Canada, is looking for any competitive edge they can get, so events like this are important” explained Jenny Davey, Manager, Paralympic Pathways. “We’re thrilled to see the calibre of athletes who came out today, ready to push hard and show us what they’ve got - and we love seeing all the smiles too!”
The next event is November 26, 2017 at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. The event is open to people with a physical disability or a visual impairment, aged 14 to 35. Registration is free and can be done at paralympic.ca/paralympian-search.