Curiosity leads Camille Rheault to Para athletics program at Université Laval

Canadian Paralympic Committee

June 18, 2024

Rouge et Or among grant recipients for CPC’s Paralympic Sport Development Fund

Camille Rheault and two kids posing on the indoor track

QUEBEC CITY – A recent graduate in Sport Intervention and now pursuing a master’s in psychology at Université Laval, Camille Rheault was steered towards Para athletics when she took a course led by national coach Nathalie Séguin.

Séguin has been the head coach for the Para athletics program at Laval for the last 10 years and was also a national team head coach in goalball.

‘’She was coaching my sport so that piqued my interest even more,” said Rheault, also a varsity athletics and cross-country runner for the Rouge et Or team. ‘’I asked her if she was taking interns for the summer. I basically followed her for two months really integrating myself in Para athletics.”

Rheault is now coordinating a Para sport project at Université Laval which she hopes can eventually become a sport studies program for the participants. Six students, ages eight to 15, were recruited for the initial project.

Last year, the Club d’athlétisme du Rouge et Or de l’Université Laval was one of 18 organizations to receive a grant from the 2023-24 Paralympic Sport Development Fund. The PSDF provides grants for local sport organizations, clubs, and programs that contribute to athlete and coach development along the Paralympic pathway.

Funding can support initiatives related to recruitment, coaching, competition, club development, training camps, or other programming that enhances capacity to support the development and experience of athletes and coaches.

The funding got the Laval Para athletics initiative off the ground and much more.

‘’We needed to purchase the necessary equipment and then there was the recruiting in which I went beyond the high schools and used my sources to get athletes. In the end we were also able to tap into the Para swimming group at Laval as well.’’

New chairs for throwing events and other necessary items were purchased to assure the new Para athletes receive a well-rounded introduction to Para athletics.

‘’The equipment, like helmets and chairs, are now more adapted to the athlete,” said Rheault. ‘’The athletes will be able to throw, jump and run during a session so they can discover their abilities and pinpoint events they feel more confident in.’’

There was also the coaching component which she hopes can be enhanced in the future with more funding. Fannie Smith, Athletics Canada’s Para sport development manager, provided her expertise to the club.

‘’The training I received with Ms. Smith was very enriching and beneficial in my daily practice,” said Joey Lussier, throwing coach at Laval. “I learned a lot about the world of Para athletics both in terms of the different classifications and how to provide appropriate coaching to the Para athletes.”

Following this training, Lussier added a F64 category shot putter to his training group.

‘’I have nothing but positive things to say. The athlete integrated very well into my group and training sessions without any difficulty.”

With such young participants, Rheault knew she needed to convince the parents of the program. So far, they are overjoyed.

‘’We communicated a lot with the parents,” she said. ‘’They are delighted to have their children introduced to Para athletics and also having the opportunity to experiment with different events under a qualified coach.

‘’They know these skills they will acquire will also help them in everyday life.’’

Applications are now open for the 2024-25 Paralympic Sport Development Fund. Please visit for more information, including the application form and eligibility requirements. The deadline to submit applications is June 28, 2024.

Apply Here Now

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