Tough times don’t deter Stephanie Chan to compete at Parapan American Games

Canadian Paralympic Committee

November 16, 2023

Table tennis tournament underway a day before Opening Ceremony


SANTIAGO – Since the last Parapan Am Games in 2019, Canada’s top Para table tennis player Stephanie Chan has withstood the toughest challenges of life.

The multiple Games medallist, including gold at Toronto 2015, was back in action Thursday at the 2023 Parapan Ams as table tennis got underway a day early with the Opening Ceremony set for Friday evening.

Chan, from Vancouver, lost her opening round match in the women’s S6-7 singles class 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 to Claudia Perez of Mexico. She has two matches Friday and will likely need to win both to advance to the playoff round.

‘’I felt a little bit nervous,’’ said Chan, 66, at her fifth Parapan Ams at which she’s collected five medals. ‘’I was a bit uncomfortable with the heat and with my match starting late.’’

Just before the Lima Games in 2019 she lost her mother, and her husband passed away in 2022. She is also currently dealing with a heart issue which will require surgery after the Games. Still, she showed her courage on Friday in a sport that requires quick reflexes and constant movement with the arms and legs.

‘’Yes I was a bit worried to play,’’ she said. ‘’I was told to make sure I don’t push it too hard and just enjoy the Games. But I wanted to come here and play table tennis, I enjoy it, I love the competition and I plan to keep playing after my surgery.’’

In other action Thursday, Ian Kent of Eastern Passage, N.S., (men’s S8 singles), Muhammad Mudassar of Brampton, Ont., (men’s S4 singles), Asad Hussain Syed of Toronto (men’s S9 singles), and Peter Isherwood of Vancouver (men’s S2 singles) all lost their two preliminary round matches.

Kent, Mudassar, and Hussain still have a match remaining on Friday but won’t advance to the playoff round. Isherwood plays four matches in his group and is still in contention with two matches left.

Competing at his fifth Parapan Ams, the 62-year-old Kent ended a three-year retirement from the sport five months ago.

‘’If I focus just on results, not very good today,’’ said Kent, 62 about his thoughts following his matches.  ‘’But if I focus on what was realistically possible for me coming here, each match I played better and closer to where I was when I retired. At my age that’s hard to do.’’

Kent lost his matches to 18-year-old Brazilian Jean Carlos De Souza and 30-year-old Alejandro Perez of Argentina both in four games (3-1).

‘’I’d love to finish the day with a W,’’ he added. ‘’To do that I need to be in control of the rally, pick my spots and finish the play. I was watching the opposition too much today.’’

Isherwood, 46, also wanted to fare better on day one.

‘’It wasn’t the results I wanted,’’ said Table Tennis Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2022. ‘’I had some tough opponents and I took a lot of positives out of it. I had some good points and some good rallies. I just need to change some tactics.’’

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