OTTAWA – An experienced and accomplished team of eight Para cyclists have been nominated to compete for Canada at the Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Cycling Canada announced on Monday.
Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team – PARA CYCLING
- Nathan Clement – West Vancouver, BC – T1 (classification)
- Tarek Dahab – Beloeil, QC – C2
- Shelley Gautier – Niagara Falls, ON – T1
- Alexandre Hayward – Quispamsis, NB – C3
- Charles Moreau – Victoriaville, QC – H3
- Mel Pemble – Victoria, BC – C3
- Mike Sametz – Calgary, AB – C3
- Keely Shaw – Midale, SK – C4
The team is comprised of four Paralympians in the sport of Para cycling, all of whom have captured Paralympic medals – Shelley Gautier, Charles Moreau, Mike Sametz, and Keely Shaw. Nathan Clement and Mel Pemble are also Paralympians, but competed in other sports – Para swimming and Para alpine skiing, respectively.
“I'm thrilled to represent Canada at the Parapan Am Games and have the opportunity to build on the results of the 2023 world championships,” said Clement. “Having experienced racing at the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto for swimming, I'm ecstatic to attend another multi-sport Games. To get the chance to race in front of loud and passionate crowds only fuels the fire to take in the learning and growth needed as the 2024 season kicks off.”
Gautier is the most experienced member of the team. A three-time Paralympian (2012, 2016, 2020) and 18-time world champion, she also won a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. She has been to two Parapan Am Games (2011, 2015), with silver medals from both.
Two-time Paralympian (2016, 2020) Moreau was one of Canada’s top riders in Rio with two bronze medals. Also a two-time bronze medallist in his sole Parapan Am Games appearance in 2015, he has been one of the best in the world in his very competitive classification for many years.
Sametz made a successful return to international competition this year after missing the past four seasons due to injury and illness. He is a Rio 2016 Paralympian, Paralympic bronze medallist, former world champion, and Toronto 2015 Parapan Am silver medallist.
A Tokyo 2020 Paralympian, Shaw captured Canada’s first medal at those Games with a bronze in the individual pursuit. Since making her maiden world championships appearance in 2018, she has steadily risen the ranks and is now an established star.
“Santiago is going to be an excellent opportunity to gauge where I’m at ahead of the Paris Paralympics,” said Shaw. “The competition is sure to be tough but I’m looking forward to seeing how I stack up, and hopefully bringing home some hardware from Santiago. Performances in Chile will then set the stage for the last push into Paris, where I hope to better my results from Tokyo.”
Clement and Pemble both have become forces to watch in only their second seasons competing on the international Para cycling circuit. Clement, who has Parapan Am Games experience in Para swimming with a bronze medal in 2015, is now a four-time world championships medallist. For her part, Pemble made a thunderous worlds debut in 2022, posting two gold medals and a world record and hasn’t slowed down since with two more podiums in 2023.
“I am thrilled to be selected for my first Parapan Am Games,” said Pemble. “As a winter athlete, it was an event I looked on at like a kid peering through the window of a candy shop, so to be able to experience them myself is a very exciting opportunity! Coming off a world championships that went so well, I hope to carry that success forward, but there was also unfinished business with some of the goals I made, and I plan on rectifying that in these Games.”
Alexandre Hayward and Tarek Dahab will be making their major multi-sport Games debuts. Hayward, who also competed in wheelchair basketball at a high level, earned a fifth place at his first world championships appearance in 2022. This is Dahab’s first year on the national team and he has proved he belongs among the best in the world with a fourth place in the time trial at this summer’s worlds.
This squad came home with 10 medals from the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, held in Glasgow in August. This includes two world titles – Clement in the men’s T1 road time trial and Pemble in the women’s C3 Omnium on the track (not a Parapan Am event).
Para road cycling at the Parapan Am Games will take place November 19 and 26, with Para track cycling racing November 23 and 24. The event counts towards Paralympic Games qualifying, with riders earning points for their results. Country quota spots for Para cycling at Paris 2024 will be based on rankings from various competitions taking place before June 30, 2024.
Dahab, Hayward, Pemble, Sametz, and Shaw will race in both the track and road competitions with all eight team members participating in the road races.
Four athletes will be making their first Parapan Am Games appearances – Dahab, Hayward, Pemble, and Shaw – with Clement making his Parapan Am debut in the sport of Para cycling.
“I am so thrilled to welcome all eight Para cyclists to the Canadian Parapan Am Team,” said Josh Vander Vies, co-chef de mission, Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team. “This is a supremely accomplished team that I am sure will make its presence known in Santiago. It was very exciting to follow along their superb results at the world championships this summer, and I can’t wait to watch and support them in person at the Games.”
“What an incredible group of athletes,” said Karolina Wisniewska, co-chef de mission. “All eight racers are coming off a very successful summer of competition, and whether they have been to multiple Paralympic Games, or this is their first multi-sport Games, are now heading into Santiago as top contenders to watch. Congratulations to each athlete on being selected to represent your country; it will be a delight to cheer you on and know that the entire Canadian contingent will be behind you in Santiago.”
The Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games will take place November 17-26, 2023 in Santiago, Chile. Canada is expecting to send a team of approximately 140 athletes.
Prior to being officially named to the Canadian Parapan Am Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
The current list of athletes nominated to the team can be found HERE. The approved final roster will be announced closer to the start of the Games.