Saskatchewan will send its largest contingent in history to the Paralympic Summer Games with 20 individuals from the province who will represent Canada in Tokyo Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
The Saskatchewan group includes eight athletes, four coaches, two support staff, four officials and two classifiers. Eight athletes is the third most in history for the province, matching the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. Saskatchewan had its largest athlete group with 10 in 2004 in Athens and sent nine to Sydney in 2000.
Wheelchair basketball player from Regina Nik Goncin leads the athlete group in experience as the only Saskatchewan athlete returning to the Paralympics from 2016 Rio. Goncin, now the captain, and Canada finished 11th in 2016. This time he is joined by Garrett Ostepchuk —who is making his Games debut— on the men’s wheelchair basketball roster.
Also attending their first Paralympic Games are Para swimmers Shelby Newkirk and Nikita Ens. Both had strong performances at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championship including Newkirk winning a silver medal and Ens re-setting her own Canadian record.
Other first time Paralympians include sitting volleyball attacker Julie Kozun, wheelchair fencer in sabre and epee Ryan Rousell, Para cyclist and 2019 Sask Sport Female Athlete of the Year Keely Shaw and wheelchair racer Jessica Frotten, who will compete in six events.
“I am tremendously proud of Saskatchewan’s athletes, coaches, officials and support staff for their contributions to Team Canada for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Laura Ross said. “Now it is time for our Paralympian’s to continue carrying the torch. To all of our athletes, know that Saskatchewan is behind you.”
The athletes will be joined by four coaches including Frank Gaudet (Para badminton), Eric Kramer (Para swimming), Carla Nicholls (Para athletics) and John Wetzstein (Para rowing). Support staff Marj Walton (Para swimming) and Lynn Seguin (Wheelchair Fencing) and officials Ryan Gaudet (wheelchair rugby), Chris Shore (wheelchair rugby), Launel Scott (goalball) and Sheila Guenther (Para swimming) will also be attending the Games in Tokyo. Two classifiers from Saskatchewan – Julie Bakke (wheelchair rugby) and Louise Ashcroft (sitting volleyball) – will also be travelling to Tokyo.
“The amateur sport community in the province should be proud to see 20 individuals from the province named to the Paralympic Games,” said Lance Dudar, Sask Sport Chair. “These athletes, coaches and officials have made significant commitments to achieve excellence in sport. We celebrate the 20 individuals who will represent our province and country in Tokyo and truly know they have helped to make amateur sport strong. Please continue to follow our online celebration of these individuals and show that you are Sask Proud.”
Join Sask Sport, Sask Lotteries and the Canadian Sport Centre Saskatchewan on cheeronsask.ca for everything you need to know about the Olympics and Paralympics. The website documents the athletes, coaches, officials and staff from Saskatchewan on their journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, features a comprehensive schedule specific to the Saskatchewan athletes that includes date, times, viewing options and results and will house daily recaps with results and information specific to the Saskatchewan contingent. It will also feature an aggregate of news from the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and National Sport Organizations.
Follow along on social media on @SaskSport, @SaskLotteries and @CSCSaskatchewan and use the hashtag #SaskProud for further updates and information from cheeronsask.ca.
TOKYO PARALYMPIC SUMMER GAMES – SASKATCHEWAN CONTINGENT
Nikita Ens – Para swimming, S3 50-metre backstroke, S3 100-m freestyle, SM3 150-m individual medley, Meadow Lake
Jessica Frotten – Para athletics, T53 100-, 400-, 1,500-, 5,000- and 4×100-metre relay, Regina
Nik Goncin – Wheelchair Basketball, Regina
Julie Kozun – Sitting Volleyball, Attacker, Melfort
Garrett Ostepchuk – Wheelchair Basketball, Regina
Shelby Newkirk – Para swimming, S6 50- and 100-m freestyle, S6 100-m backstroke, Saskatoon
Ryan Rousell – Wheelchair Fencing, A Sabre and Epee, Asquith
Keely Shaw – Para cycling, C4, Midale
Frank Gaudet – Para badminton, Regina
Eric Kramer – Para swimming, Saskatoon
Carla Nicholls – Para athletics, Regina
John Wetzstein – Para rowing, Regina
Lynn Seguin – Team manager, Wheelchair Fencing, Saskatoon
Marj Walton – Team support, Para swimming, Regina
Ryan Gaudet – Wheelchair Rugby, Bellevue
Sheila Guenther – Para swimming, Regina
Launel Scott – Goalball, Saskatoon
Chris Shore – Wheelchair Rugby, Regina
Louise Ashcroft – Sitting Volleyball, Regina
Julie Bakke – Wheelchair Rugby, Saskatoon