Rob Shaw on medal prowl in wheelchair tennis in Tokyo

Canadian Paralympic Committee

August 18, 2021

Paralympic Games another giant step for Para badminton’s Olivia Meier

Shaw action

Just two months ago, Rob Shaw completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies at UBC Okanagan. Now, he’s aiming to earn another title: Paralympic Games medallist in wheelchair tennis.

Making history is nothing new for Shaw, Canada’s lone entry in wheelchair tennis at Tokyo 2020. In 2019, he won the gold medal in quad singles at the Parapan American Games, defeating world No. 1 David Wagner of the U.S. in the final. It was a first singles title for a Canadian at a major Games in either standing or wheelchair tennis. 

Shaw is currently ranked eighth in the world and is a four-time national quad singles champion. Following his Parapan Am victory, he triumphed at three of his last four tournaments to finish the 2019 season on a strong note.

But that string of success was a long time ago, and Shaw hopes he can find that magic again in Tokyo.

“Because we weren’t able to train or compete with others, we haven’t been able to gauge our progression and so it’s hard to determine what level we’re at,’’ said Shaw, who has not been able to participate in a tournament since the COVID-19 pandemic began. “It’s been almost two years since I’ve had a competitive tennis match and so I’m really looking forward to putting my training into match play.’’

His top opponents in Tokyo are expected to be world No. 1 Dylan Alcott of Australia, a double gold medallist at the Rio Games in 2016 (quad singles and doubles) and Wagner, with three doubles gold medals, a doubles silver medal, two singles silver medals and two singles bronze medals since quad events made their Paralympic debut in 2004.

Also keep an eye on world No. 2 Sam Shroeder of the Netherlands, a colon cancer survivor, who beat Alcott in the US Open final last season.

The quads singles tournament runs from August 28 to September 2.

Games a valuable experience for Olivia Meier 

Another racquet sport has been added to the Paralympic program for the first time in Tokyo: Para badminton. Canada will be represented by Olivia Meier, who’ll compete in women’s singles in the SL4 category. Meier is also the only Canadian Paralympian from Manitoba on the Tokyo roster.

The 22-year-old from Winnipeg, who has a disability on the right side of her body, has made her mark in the Americas with medal performances at both the Pan Am Championships in 2018 and the Parapan Am Games in 2019, including a silver in singles in Lima.

Currently ranked 11th in the world, Meier’s top opponent is Leani Ratri Oktila of Indonesia. She was crowned Badminton World Federation Female Para Badminton Player in 2019. She claimed her first world women’s singles SL4 title in 2019, in a season that saw her win 12 gold, two silver and one bronze medals. 

The women’s SL4 singles tournament runs from September 2-5 in Tokyo. 

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