Canadian Para athletics team nominated to Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games

Canadian Paralympic Committee

October 10, 2023

Seventeen athletes to represent Canada in Santiago, Chile from November 17-26


OTTAWA – A team of 17 athletes has been nominated to represent Canada in Para athletics at the Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Athletics Canada announced Tuesday.  

Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team – PARA ATHLETICS

  1. David Bambrick – Wolfville, NS
  2. Michael Barber – Victoria, BC
  3. Charlotte Bolton – Tillsonburg, ON
  4. Anthony Bouchard – Quebec, QC
  5. Laura Calovini – Brampton, ON
  6. Isaiah Christophe – Brampton, ON
  7. Brendon Cote-Williamson – Saskatoon, SK
  8. Renee Foessel – Barrie, ON
  9. Keegan Gaunt – Thunder Bay, ON
  10. Sheriauna Haase – Toronto, ON
  11. Alister McQueen – Calgary, AB
  12. Sarah Mickey – Redcliff, AB
  13. Tianna Rissling – Calgary, AB
  14. Liam Stanley – Victoria, BC
  15. Natalie Thirsk – Edmonton, AB
  16. Noah Vucsics – Calgary, AB
  17. Jesse Zesseu – Toronto, ON

The squad who will compete in track and field events for Canada in Santiago includes seven athletes with previous Parapan American Games experience: David Bambrick, Michael Barber, Isaiah Christophe, Renee Foessel, Alister McQueen, Sarah Mickey, and Liam Stanley.

They will be joined by 10 first-time Parapan Am team members: Charlotte Bolton, Anthony Bouchard, Laura Calovini, Brendon Cote-Williamson, Keegan Gaunt, Sheriauna Haase, Tianna Rissling, Natalie Thirsk, Noah Vucsics, and Jesse Zesseu.

Canadian athletes had an exceptional 2023 World Para Athletics Championships in Paris this summer, earning 14 medals (two gold, seven silver, five bronze). Two of those medallists have been nominated to the Canadian Parapan Am Team: Renee Foessel and Noah Vucsics.

“Representing Canada is always a privilege in itself,” said Foessel, who is coming off a silver medal in the F38 discus event at this summer’s world championships. “Every athlete demonstrates a great deal of dedication, discipline, and grit in their performance to qualify for our Canadian teams and to be selected among all these other athletes is an honour.”

“It’s an honour to get to represent Canada again this year,” said Vucsics, who scored a silver medal of his own at the 2023 worlds in the T20 long jump event. “This year my goals at the Parapan American Games are to get to the podium again just like in Paris at the world championships. I know I have what it takes to do it. I just need to go out and put together a good jump.”

Four members of this team competed in Tokyo at the Paralympic Games in 2021, while five athletes were also part of the Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games team, including 2019 double medallist Liam Stanley.

“At the last Parapan American Games, I was expected to medal so I guess the next progression would be to have the expectation to win,” Stanley said. “Lima gave me experience on how it feels performing at that level. As an athlete, once you get a taste of it, you just want more. I have been incredibly fortunate in my career to represent Canada for over 12 years now. Each year I think I appreciate it more and more because of the effort that goes into preparing yourself to perform at that level and you don’t know how long it’s going to last.”

Foessel, a former world record holder, makes her return to the Parapan American Games for the first time since Toronto 2015 with great expectations.

“My last Parapan American Games in 2015 is still my favourite competition to this day,” she said. “The ability to compete on home soil among friends and family is a feeling I wish every athlete can experience one day. For these Santiago Games, I anticipate a few differences. The obvious being that we will be abroad competing but, specifically for me, I will only be competing in one event: the discus throw. I have a much larger field of North American competitors, and it will be an uphill battle to secure the medal colour I am looking to achieve, the gold.”

Vucsics, on the other hand, is making his Parapan Am debut with next year’s Paralympic Games in mind.

“I think the Parapan American Games will give me the experience to prepare me for Paris next year,” he said. “I will get the experience of an athletes’ village and being around other athletes that do other sports, and take part in the opening and closing ceremonies – all great experiences to have before the Paralympic Games.”

Para athletics competition will take place November 21-25 in Santiago. The event is not a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, but could allow athletes to achieve high performance standards that may be used in slot allocation for the Games next summer.

“I am so thrilled to welcome all 17 members of the Para athletics team to the full Canadian team for the Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games,” said Karolina Wisniewska, co-chef de mission, Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team. “I know the five days of track and field action in Santiago will be so exciting from start to finish, with podiums, personal bests, and positive experiences. I can’t wait to cheer this team on at the Games!”

“This is a very talented and dedicated group of competitors featuring a great mix of experienced multi-sport Games athletes and newcomers,” said Josh Vander Vies, co-chef de mission. “Congratulations to each athlete on being nominated to the team; it is always a huge honour to represent your country on an international stage like the Parapan Am Games. I look forward to following all of their journeys in Santiago.”

The Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games will take place November 17-26, 2023 in Santiago, Chile. Canada is expecting to send a team of approximately 140 athletes.

Prior to being officially named to the Canadian Parapan Am Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

The current list of athletes nominated to the team can be found HERE. The approved final roster will be announced closer to the start of the Games.

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