OTTAWA – The 2019 Parapan Am Games in Lima are the last chance for both the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams to earn a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
In Lima, the women’s team needs a top two-finish for a berth to the 2020 Games. They are in Pool A with Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Pool B is comprised of USA, Chile, Brazil and Peru.
Each team plays a round robin in its group. The top two from each pool qualify directly for the semifinals, set to take place on Thursday August 29, with the medal games taking place the following day.
The Canadian women open the round robin against Colombia on August 24 followed by matches against Argentina on August 25 and Mexico on August 27.
The USA are the reigning Parapan Am and Paralympic Games champions but finished behind Canada in sixth place at the 2018 World Championships while the Canadians took fifth. Canada beat the U.S. in the fifth-place game 68-53.
The next best Americas teams at the 2018 worlds were Brazil in 10th and Argentina 11th.
Arinn Young and Cindy Ouellet will co-captain the Canadian women in Lima, where the squad will feature six Paralympians (Erica Gavel, Maude Jacques, Ouellet, Rosalie Lalonde, Tamara Steeves and Young) and six newcomers to multi-sport Games (Sandrine Bérubé, Kady Dandeneau, Puisand Lai, Tara Llanes, Élodie Tessier and Danielle DuPlessis).
Canada won the silver medal in the women’s wheelchair basketball tournament four years ago in Toronto.
On the men’s side, Canada needs a top-three finish for a trip to Tokyo. The Canadians are in Pool A also with Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. Pool B members are Brazil, Peru, Puerto Rico and USA.
Each team plays a round robin in its group, however the men have a different playoff format as all eight nations are re-seeded for the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals are August 28, the semis August 30 and the medal matches August 31.
Canada opens the round robin August 25 against Colombia, followed by games versus Mexico on August 26 and Argentina on August 27.
The USA is the reigning Parapan Am and Paralympic Games champion and were second at the worlds last year. Argentina was seventh at worlds, Canada 12th and Brazil 14th.
Canada is led by co-captains Bo Hedges and David Eng, as well as the legendary Patrick Anderson. Eight players on the team are Paralympians, with five (Anderson, Eng, Hedges, Chad Jassman, Tyler Miller) owning Paralympic medals.
Three athletes (Colin Higgins, Lee Melymick, Blaise Mutware) will be making their multi-sport Games debut, with one (Mutware) also making his international debut for Canada.
The Canadians were silver medallists in 2015.
Canada is sending a team of 151 athletes to the Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games, taking place August 23 to September 1.
For more information on the Canadian Parapan Am Team, please visit Paralympic.ca/lima2019.