Para Sport Jumpstart Fund helps Athletics Canada spread importance of integration

Canadian Paralympic Committee

March 02, 2020

‘’Athletics Canada has a 100 per cent integrated approach''

2020 Jumpstart athletics

Athletics Canada has been a trailblazer in integrating Para athletes at its major camps and national competitions. 

However, the trickle-down effect from integration is still not satisfying enough for the organization at the local levels. But with funding from the Para Sport Jumpstart Fund going towards its Para athletic sport and athlete development program, Athletics Canada will revamp its approach to the program.

‘’The Jumpstart funding was a relief because there is not a lot money to go out and identify athletes to try Para sport and have coaches learn about it,’’ said Carla Nicholls, who leads Athletics Canada’s Para track and field high performance plan. 

‘’Athletics Canada has a 100 per cent integrated approach and we believe it is best for the Olympics and Paralympics to have both programs training together and coached by the best in the country.’’

Nicholls says the Jumpstart fund is a great opportunity for Athletics Canada to educate clubs and coaches on integration and opens the doors to get into the grassroots areas: ‘’It begins with that very important education piece because without that, clubs won’t be integrated.’’

“This grant is crucial for us to continue on that route of identifying Para athletes and have them try out the sport,” she added. “But it is also educating the parents, the coaches, the clubs. We have such a high list of needs that with this grant we can continue to support at the grassroots level.’’

With an abundance of events and classifications there is no shortage of choice in Para athletics for people with a disability.

‘’The beautiful thing about athletics is that we have an event for almost every single disability,’’ said Nicholls. ‘’Within those disabilities and sport classes we offer multiple different types of events for them to try, from a seated thrower or ambulatory sprinter.’’

Not to mention, age is not a limitation. At the Parapan American Games last year in Lima, the Canadian Para athletics team included teenage runners and a 60+ discus thrower.

‘’At the national level we are showing integration works. With this funding, we can take it to the ground to educate at the local levels.’’

Applications for the 2020 Para Sport Jumpstart Fund are now open. Please visit for more information. 

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