KELOWNA, B.C. – Canada’s ace wheelchair tennis player Rob Shaw can’t wait to share his knowledge with the Para athlete hopefuls as the ambassador at Paralympian Search this Saturday at the Central Sports Club in Kelowna.
Participants at Paralympian Search will have the opportunity to try out a few different sports in addition to completing a series of physical challenges. Several representatives from sport organizations will be on hand to answer questions and help the athletes find out more about what sports are best for them.
‘’It’s a really cool event and I’m really honoured for the role I’m going to play,’’ said Shaw, who beat then-world No. 2 David Wagner of the U.S. to win the gold medal match at the Parapan American Games this past summer.
‘’This is a great opportunity for people with a disability who want to get into sport to explore different options and get an idea of a sport they could be passionate about and enjoy.’’
Shaw, who turns 30 on December 6, was injured in a diving accident at the age of 21, becoming partially paralyzed from the neck down. He started playing wheelchair tennis after his accident.
Prior to his accident, tennis was Shaw’s prime sport. He coached tennis from the ages of 15 to 21, including stand-up and wheelchair tennis.
That still didn’t stop him from trying every Para sport under the sun before settling on his first love.
‘’The sport I came the closest to pursuing besides tennis was wheelchair rugby,’’ said Shaw. ‘’I really liked the team aspect of the sport and the fact I had a specific role. I’m happy I took that time to explore and I recommend the same for those attending on Saturday.’’
For Shaw, his number-one hope is that the participants begin a lifelong habit of doing sports so they can maintain their health and develop new skills. He says the rewards can be even bigger for those who want to pursue sports more seriously.
‘’A Paralympian isn’t made overnight,’’ said Shaw. ‘’Sports offer different opportunities from the recreational to the international level. Time management becomes more important at the elite level. As a teenager you have to balance sports and school and as an adult maybe sports, work and family.’’
Shaw knows all about time management. While being one of the best in the world in wheelchair tennis he is also completing his PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus in Kelowna.
‘’The Paralympian Search provides a valuable resource for people with a disability interested in sport,’’ he said. ‘’I wish it would have been there when I started out.’’
For more information about Paralympian Search or to register for Saturday’s Kelowna event, visit Paralympic.ca/Paralympiansearch.