Canada fields strong Para cycling team for Parapan American Games

Canadian Paralympic Committee

November 10, 2023

The eight members combined for 10 medals at 2023 worlds


The eight members on Canada’s Para cycling team were all at the 2023 World Championships this past August in Glasgow, Scotland. None of them were at the 2019 Parapan Am Games.

But don’t let that stat deceive you. Those eight riders combined for 10 medals on the track and the road at the Glasgow worlds. In 2019, Canada sent a developmental team to the Parapan Ams, but this year is sending its top riders to the Santiago Games set for November 17-26.

Shelley Gautier of Toronto, Mike Sametz of Calgary, and Charles Moreau of Victoriaville, Que. were on the 2015 Parapan Ams team in Toronto. Each of those riders won a medal at those Games.

Gautier, an 18-time world champion, hasn’t lost a beat since then, earning two bronze in the women’s T1 road races in Glasgow. Sametz has overcome illness and injury to reemerge on the international scene in 2023 with his worlds bronze in the men’s C3 time trial on the road. 

Two of the cyclists were Paralympians in other sports.

Mel Pemble, 23, of Victoria is the breakout star on the team. In Glasgow, the C3 rider won a medal of each colour on the track: gold in the Omnium, silver in the scratch race, and bronze in the 500-m time trial. Pemble raced in alpine skiing at the 2018 Winter Paralympics.

Over two worlds (2022 and 2023) she has accumulated five medals including three gold.

Nathan Clement, 29, of West Vancouver won a bronze at the 2015 Parapan Am Games in swimming and also competed in the sport at the 2016 Paralympics. He switched to cycling in 2020 and has rolled to four medals at the last two road worlds in the men’s T1 including gold this past August in the time trial.

Emerging at the same time as Clement is Alexandre Hayward of Quispamsis, N.B. in the men’s C3. The former AAA hockey player who broke his neck in a game in 2012, races on the track and road and has competed at the last two worlds for both events with five top-six results.

He didn’t compete at his best for most of 2023 after being diagnosed with mononucleosis but despite the noticeable weight loss at worlds, he still delivered sterling performances.

Not to be outdone is young veteran Keely Shaw of Midale, Sask., also a former top level hockey player, twice named Saskatchewan’s female athlete of the year for Para cycling prowess on both the road and track. At 29, she is already a five-time world championships medallist and won bronze at Tokyo 2020 on the track.

The most inexperienced rider on the team is 50-year-old former police officer Tarek Dahab of Beloeil, Que. He competed at his first worlds in 2023 racing in seven events overall on the road and track with three top-10 results including a fourth in the kilo.

Despite not sending most of its top riders to the 2019 Parapan Ams, Canadian cyclists won 13 medals for third in the sport’s medal standings behind the U.S. at 18 and Colombia at 16. The Americans have topped the medal standings since the 2011 Games.

Based on this summer’s worlds, the Americans and Canadians should be in another heated battle for top nation honours in Santiago. At the worlds, the U.S. won four gold, three silver and six bronze compared to 2-3-6 for Canada. Brazil and Colombia collected three medals apiece.

The Americans are fielding a 15-member team for Santiago all of whom have worlds experience including 10 with medals. Samantha Bosco will be Shaw’s top rival in the women’s C4 after a five-medal intake in Glasgow while 16-time worlds medallist Joe Berenyi will be the top opponent for Sametz and Hayward in men’s C3.

Para road cycling at the Parapan Am Games will take place November 19 and 26, with Para track cycling racing November 23 and 24.


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