Canadian Para athletics competitors excited about Parapan Am Games

Canadian Paralympic Committee

November 08, 2023

Team ranges in age from 17-39; Track and field events take place November 21-25


OTTAWA – He doesn’t know what to expect results-wise but for Anthony Bouchard the Parapan American Games will be another great opportunity to climb the international ranks as one of Canada’s best wheelchair racers.

Bouchard, a 31-year-old from Quebec City, is one of 18 members of Canada’s Parapan Am Para athletics team, Canada’s second-largest sports group among the 140 athletes for the Games (behind wheelchair basketball).

Injured in a car accident in 2011, Bouchard only got involved in the sport in 2021 but since then he has competed at the Para athletics world championships and is now headed to his first major Games wearing Canadian colours.

“I’m excited, I don’t really know what to expect,” Bouchard told Radio-Canada recently about going to Santiago. “Sometimes I stop and think about everything that is happening to me and I tell myself it’s unfolded really fast.”

At 39, David Bambrick of Wolfville, N.S. is headed to his second Parapan Ams. The shot put and discus thrower just missed the podium in Lima four years ago, placing fourth in discus. He was a member of Canada’s worlds team this year as well.

Bambrick expects to be in much better condition in Santiago than he was in Paris in July.

“I was one of five athletes that got sick during that competition,” he recalled to Saltwire. “It’s history now and I just have to look to the future. I am happy and excited to represent Canada again and show the world my talent.”

One of Canada’s top medal hopes in Para athletics at the Parapan Ams is Renee Foessel of Barrie, Ont. She told the Barrie Advance her role on such a young team goes beyond reaching the podium.

“We’re a development team with some experienced athletes and I’m really looking forward to guiding the new athletes,” said the now three-time Parapan Am Games team member.

Other interesting stories emerging on the team include:

·         Visually impaired runner Keegan Gaunt of Thunder Bay, Ont. Gaunt is the daughter of Robbi Weldon, a gold medallist in Para cycling for Canada at the 2012 Paralympic Games and Robert Gaunt, a two-time Paralympian in goalball.

·         Thrower Billy Bridges makes his Parapan Am debut after more than two decades with Canada’s Para ice hockey team which includes six Paralympic Winter Games.

·         The youngest Para athletics team athlete is Sheriauna Haase, a 17-year-old sprinter and aspiring actress from Toronto. She made headlines back in 2017 when her mother, Sherylee Honeyghan, wrote a children’s book called I Am Sheriauna about being a kid growing up with a noticeable disability. Haase, who was born with one hand, was fifth at the worlds in July in the 100m.

·         One of the fastest rising stars on the team is 23-year-old long jumper Noah Vucsics of Calgary. His 7.35 metre leap for silver at the worlds was also a Canadian record and he missed the gold by only five centimetres.

Canada’s Para athletics participants will surely look to slice their times and increase distances in Santiago all the while gaining a valuable experience for Paris 2024 and beyond.


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