This article was originally published on the Volleyball Canada website.
With qualification for Rio in their sights, athletes for both men’s and women’s sitting volleyball teams have been selected by Volleyball Canada for nomination to the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games team after a training camp and tournament this past week at Montreal's Défi sportif AlterGo.
A total of 12 men and 10 women were named to the team, along with head coaches Ray Sewell of Calgary (for the men) and Nicole Ban of Edmonton (for the women).
The complete roster appears at the end of this release.
The Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games will be an important tournament for Canada’s men’s and women’s national sitting volleyball teams as it is a direct qualifier for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. The Canadian men’s team took the bronze at the 2007 and 2011 Parapan Am Games, while this is a first major Games appearance for the women.
In men’s sitting volleyball, Canada needs to finish first or second to Brazil to gain a berth for the Paralympic Games. The Brazilians already have a spot locked up as hosts.
“The Parapan Am Games being held in Toronto is a huge opportunity for parasport in Canada and for the continued development of sitting volleyball,” said Ray Sewell, head coach of Canada’s men’s team. “Our team has made big improvements over the last couple years and we are excited to prove that Canada continues to be competitive in the Pan Am zone. The addition of some younger athletes onto our team has given us a good balance of experience, youth and enthusiasm.”
On the women’s side, Canada needs to finish ahead of Cuba to qualify for Rio. Brazil is in as host and the U.S. automatically gained a berth by winning the gold medal at the world championships last year.
“We are excited to begin our preparations for the Games this summer,” said Nicole Ban, the women’s team head coach. “This is the first time that there is a women’s division for sitting volleyball in the Parapan Am Games and we are thrilled that it is taking place in Canada. We have a number of new athletes and we are hoping to have a good showing at the Parapan Am Games and contend for a berth in the 2016 Paralympic Games.”
In sitting volleyball teams are composed of players with various disabilities such as amputations and spinal cord injuries. Players are seated and must keep contact with the floor at all times. Athletes demonstrate amazing mobility and skill as they serve, pass, smash and block.
“I’ve had an opportunity to meet the sitting volleyball team and staff,” said Canada’s Chef de Mission Elisabeth Walker-Young. “Their spirit, dedication and work ethic impressed me. I'm pleased that they will be on Team Canada for the Toronto 2015 Games with the intended goal of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. I’m looking forward to seeing these athletes in action in Toronto.”
The sitting volleyball squad is the second of 14 Canadian teams to be nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Committee for selection for the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games, which take place Aug. 7 to 15. Canada is expected to send approximately 220 athletes to the Games and has set a goal of finishing in the top three nations in the total medal count. Qualification is ongoing and the full team will be officially unveiled in July 2015.
“I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to the athletes named today to Canada’s sitting volleyball team for the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games,” said The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). “I wish you good luck as you enter the final stages of your preparation and hope you enjoy the experience of competing at these Games at home during the Year of Sport in Canada.”
TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games tickets are currently on sale. Parapan Am events are expected to draw big crowds, particularly the sports of athletics, swimming, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. Tickets are available online at TORONTO2015.org/tickets.
2015 Parapan Am Games - Sitting Volleyball Rosters
Women’s National Team
Chantal Beauchesne, Petawawa, ON
Angelena Dolezar, Edmonton, ON
Anne Fergusson, Carleton Place, ON
Shacarra Orr, Jaffray, BC
Heidi Peters, Neerlandia, AB
Tessa Popoff, Langley, BC
Amber Skyrpan, Plamondon, AB
Felicia Voss-Shafiq, Burnaby, BC
Jolan Wong, Pembroke, ON
Katelyn Wright, Edmonton, AB
Head Coach - Nicole Ban, Edmonton, AB
High Performance Director & Assistant Coach - Ian Halliday, Calgary, AB
Physiotherapist – Lauren Vickery
Men’s National Team
Jamoi Anderson, Brampton, ON
Jesse George Buckingham, Toronto, ON
Raymond Gauthier, Edmonton, AB
Austin Hinchey, Edmonton, AB
Massoud Khanmohammad, Richmond Hill, ON
Douglas Learoyd, Calgary, AB
David Marchand, St. Albert, AB
Larry Matthews, Sturgeon County, AB
Jason Conrad Naval, Toronto, ON
José Rebelo, Saint-Hubert, QC
Andrew Tucker, Toronto, ON
Jesse Ward, Calgary, AB
Head Coach - Raymond Sewell, Cochrane, AB
Assistant Coach - Paul Shearme, Yellowknife, NWT
Physiotherapist - Anne Fleming, Calgary, AB
Team Manager – Kerry MacDonald, Calgary, AB