Family support inspires Renee Foessel

Canadian Paralympic Committee

August 19, 2021

Discus thrower now a medal contender at Paralympics

Foessel action

Whenever the discussion revolves around her early days in Paralympic sport, Renee Foessel can never forget the sacrifices made by her parents. 

‘’My mother and father are the reason I am where I am because of all the travelling and commitments they made to me to make sure I reached the level I have,’’ said Foessel, 26, born with hemiplegia with her right side of her body weaker than her left.

The middle child of three girls, Foessel use to wear a hand brace and leg brace growing up. She also used a wheelchair for some events.

‘’My growth, my body awareness in my comfort zone has really grown because of the support my parents have given me.
‘’My father and my mother have the best love I have ever seen.’’

Foessel, a records and information management clerk for the Barrie Police Service for the last two years, got involved in sport at age six. First it was Para ice hockey, then wheelchair basketball before she discovered athletics.

‘’I just fell in love with athletics,’’ said Foessel, coached by Ken Hall at Cruisers Sports in Mississauga, Ont. since she was a youth.

‘’I loved the individual aspect. You succeed on your own and you fail on your own and you really need to learn all the lessons in order to grow. When I get into the circle to throw discus, it’s all in, it’s me, it’s my time to show and do what I’ve done with the support I’ve had from my friends, family, and everyone else behind me.’’

Her athletic resume is impressive, competing at the 2011 and 2015 Parapan American Games, the 2016 Paralympic Games, the 2017 and the 2019 IPC World Championships. She won gold in Toronto in 2015 and bronze at the 2019 worlds. She was fourth in Rio.

This past June she set a world record in the F38 discus with a throw of 37.88 meters, at the Toronto Track and Field Centre at York University to send notice she’s on top of her game for Tokyo.

Before the Rio Games, her father passed away from cancer, and she admits he is always in her thoughts.

‘’Having him pass was difficult for our family but it was a good driver for me in 2016. It’s important to remember and commemorate the support we had through the ones we have lost.’’

For more stories about Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympians, visit

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