Only added to the Paralympic Winter Games program in 2014, Para snowboard is still very much in its early stages internationally.
But with help from the CPC NextGen fund, a solid program is now instilled for development.
Dave Balne feels the consistent presence of a dedicated coach at competitions and training camps for Canada’s developmental team in Para snowboard is a key component of CPC’s NextGen funding.
‘’The impact of the NextGen funding has been massive,’’ confirmed Balne, Canada Snowboard’s NextGen coach since 2016.
Balne says there’s been interest in Para snowboard from a wide range of athletes.
‘’We have a few athletes coming down the pipeline,’’ he said. ‘’Some are young and will need time to gain knowledge with the tactics of the sport which generally comes after years of training.
‘’Others had been riding for years before their accident. They were inspired by seeing our Para athletes, and came to try out.’’
Results from the program were already evident this past March as NextGen athletes, Colton Liddle and Sandrine Hamel were on the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games team.
‘’Just being able to say there’s a coach present that can work with the athletes is a huge incentive.’’
Balne is confident Canada will be a major player in the sport for years to come.
The Paralympic Foundation of Canada is celebrating the first year of the ImagiNation campaign, which aims to raise $6 million over four years and leverage a $4 million matching commitment from the Government of Canada for an unprecedented $10 million investment in Canadian athletes with a disability.
For more information, please visit Paralympic.ca/imagination.