Nasif Chowdhury focused on helping Canada gain Paralympic berth in sitting volleyball

Canadian Paralympic Committee

May 04, 2023

Two-sport star inspired by veteran teammate and parents


TORONTO – Nasif Chowdhury is excited about his future dominated by dreams of being involved in sport both on and off the field.

The 20-year-old University of Waterloo sport and recreation student, who calls Toronto home, is focused these days on trying to qualify for the 2024 Paralympic Games. Canada’s men’s sitting volleyball team will compete at a Pan American regional qualifier next week in Edmonton, with the winner securing one of the available spots.

His love of sport was evident at the recent ParaTough Cup fundraiser in Toronto. As one of the athlete ambassadors, he was running the sitting volleyball station as participants tried the sport for the first time. Chowdhury provided an introductory overview then both refereed and provided tips during matches.

“I’m involved in two sports right now and it can get pretty expensive,” he said during a brief 10-minute break from his ParaTough Cup duties. “To be at a fundraising event like this and see all this support for Para sport is great. Just purchasing a proper wheelchair for wheelchair basketball for example and maintaining it whether it’s tires, tubes, dips into your pocketbook.”

Chowdhury, born with one leg nine inches shorter than the other, is a newcomer to sitting volleyball. He only started in 2019 and made the national team in 2021.

However he’s been playing the standup game since he was a youngster, including through high school. It was a coach at a tournament that mentioned to him the possibility he could get involved in the sitting version and maybe one day go to the Paralympic Games.

With the national team based in Calgary, Chowdhury and three teammates in the Toronto area hustle to find facilities where they can practice in between camps. One of his national team practice teammates is veteran Darek Symonowicz.

“During COVID with all the facilities shut down, Darek and I would practice together outdoors at the park sitting on grass,” said Chowdhury. “He is a like a big brother for me and our one-on-one sessions have really helped me get to another level.”

Wheelchair basketball is another passion for Chowdhury. This past winter he was a member of Team Ontario at the Canada Winter Games.

“It was always a dream of mine to represent Ontario at the Games,” he said. “It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I initially played the sport for fun as an activity with friends. But now I’ve set some goals in the sport, perhaps trying out for the U23 national team and exploring scholarship opportunities in the U.S.”

Chowdhury’s parents were both athletic but their biggest influence on their children was their decision to leave their homeland as teenagers to come to Canada for a better future.

Both his mother and father separately left Bangladesh 25 years ago and would later meet in their new country.

His father, who left at age 16, now works as a realtor and his mother, who was 18 when she left home, owns a restaurant. Both were talented athletes as youngsters and have made sure their three children are active.

“My dad played badminton and cricket while my mom was a huge track and field athlete,” said Chowdhury, who walks with a prosthetic. “I’m fortunate to always have them there for me. They’ve been very supportive of my career in sports.”

Through his current studies, Chowdhury is setting the table for a long career in sport.

“I love sports and I plan to stick around.”


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