Women's basketball team qualifies for Tokyo 2020

The Canadian women’s squad went 3-0 at the qualifying tournament.

Canada Basketball, February 8, 2020
Photo Credit: Canada Basketball/Victory

OSTEND, BELGIUM – The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team are headed to Tokyo. With an 80-50 victory over Sweden on Saturday, the squad punched their ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Women’s Olympic Basketball Competition. 

Natalie Achonwa finished with a game-high 16 points to lead all scorers in a balanced scoring effort from Canada. Achonwa shot 8-for-9 from the floor and added eight rebounds. Shaina Pellington added 11 points while Miranda Ayim and Kia Nurse each scored 10 points. Canada received 43 points from its bench, with Pellington leading the way. Frida Eldebrink led Sweden in the loss with 14 points while Kalis Loyd added 12. 

“We’ve experienced the whole gamut of qualification,” head coach Lisa Thomaidis said. “A last minute, grind it out [qualification] in 2012, the last possible berth we eked out. Then onto 2016, where we took care of business in Canada and got it done, now for the first time in our tenure, to do it on foreign soil. I just said to the team, to qualify with a 30-point victory is pretty special. I think it really speaks to how far this team has come. I couldn’t be happier for this team and these players.”

Full Canada Basketball story

Close to qualifying

The Senior Women’s National Team is ready to hit the court in Belgium.

Canada Basketball (Holly MacKenzie), February 3, 2020
Photo Credit: Canada Basketball/Victory

Ostend, Belgium — Team Canada is in Ostend, Belgium this week for a FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament where they will play three games (Feb. 6 – Feb. 9), with the team looking to advance to a third consecutive Olympic Games. With a full roster on hand and players arriving from near and far to suit up for Canada, the team is excited to get things underway.

“With the Belgium qualifier for us, it’s really becoming real,” head coach Lisa Thomaidis said.  “Anytime we get a chance to get our whole team together and get a glimpse of what is possible, the level of play we’re going to be able to put on the floor, that part is really fun. Our players really look forward to getting back together and just seeing what we can do out there. They love hanging out and reconvening and reconnecting after time spent away. It’s going to be fun.”

Much of the team’s roster is scattered across the globe playing professionally.  Players have traveled to Belgium from Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Russia, among other places, for the chance to represent Canada in this tournament and hopefully secure a spot in Tokyo this summer.

“It’s a long journey for sure,” Thomaidis said. “I can’t wait to get back out there and show what we have and express the strength that we do have on this team.”

Full Canada Basketball story

Shaw looking to qualify

Last chance to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Canadian Paralympic Committee, January 16, 2020 Photo Credit: Canadian Paralympic Committee

MILTON, Ont. – Tristen Chernove and veteran rider Marie-Claude Molnar headline Canada’s team for the UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships from January 30 to February 2 in Milton, Ont., at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre
 
It is the first time the championships will be held in Canada.
 
More than 160 athletes from 32 countries are expected to compete including a six-member Canadian team.
 
Chernove, from Cranbrook, B.C., has earned at least one medal at every track worlds since 2016 including three at the last three worlds. In 2019, he won a gold, silver and bronze repeating his performance from 2018.

Also on the men’s side for Canada are individual pursuit world record holder Ross Wilson of Edmonton and visually impaired rider Lowell Taylor of Calgary and pilot Ed Veal of Toronto, a former national team rider.
 
For the women, Molnar, a two-time Paralympian from St-Hubert, Que., is joined by Keely Shaw of Midale, Sask., who is vying for her first Games appearance later this summer in Tokyo.
 
The track worlds are the last opportunity to qualify for the Paralympics in the track events.

Full Canadian Paralympic Committee story

Sitting volleyball Paralympic Qualifier

Canada is one of five teams vying for a spot at the Paralympics

Sport Nova Scotia, January 14, 2020 Photo Credit: Canadian Paralympic Committee

Halifax – From Feb. 26 to Feb. 29, 2020 Halifax will be hosting the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Sitting Volleyball Qualifier. This is a tournament that will result in the gold-medalist team travelling to Japan in the coming summer to compete in the Paralympic Games.

“We are so grateful to host this event. Through World ParaVolley, Volleyball Canada, and Volleyball Nova Scotia, we are all looking forward to a high – intensity tournament!” Says Jason Trepanier, Executive Director at Volleyball Nova Scotia, “There is so much on the line for all of the teams involved, but by having this event in Halifax, our Canadian team has home soil advantage! It’s going to be a Qualifier Tournament like no other.”.

This event is the first of its kind for Canada. Sitting volleyball is gaining traction and will be a big upcoming event in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. The teams participating in this year’s Paralympic Qualifier are: Canada, Ukraine, Slovenia, Finland and Germany. Pool play starts on Feb. 26 with games scheduled for 11am, 1pm, 5pm, and 7pm. The semi-finals and finals will be taking place on Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, Feb. 29.  

“We are so excited to host this event in Halifax. It’s a big step in the right direction for inclusivity and positive competition in the Volleyball community.” Says Paul Tingley, Parasport Coordinator, Sport Nova Scotia, “This whole tournament further pushes the idea that anyone can play volleyball. It is a big accomplishment for the whole Volleyball Community; provincially and nationally.”.

This tournament will be a great community event. There is no cost for spectators to enjoy the matches, and everyone is welcome to come and support the Canadian team on their Paralympic Games journey.

VIDEO: Jill Gallays

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, 2016 Olympic wrestler Jill Gallays found a passion for her sport in high school.

In her 15-year wrestling career, the 5-foot-five wrestler in the 53-kilogram weight class became a six time national champion, competing in 28 countries including at the Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games, World University Games and in Rio in 2016.

But the road to the Olympics didn’t come easy. Gallays, now the Director of Training at Craven Sport Services in Saskatoon, overcame a learning disability, graduating from the University of Saskatchewan in 2012, and numerous injuries including torn ligaments just months before the Olympic qualifier.

Gallays believes without her home province, her dream wouldn’t have been possible.

“Representing Canada is what I dreamed of my whole wrestling career. To be able to wear the red and white and be surrounded by people who have the like-minded love that you do toward Canada is an amazing experience. I wouldn’t take it back for the world.”

Jill Gallays, 2016 Olympic Wrestler

Goncin finds his way

Wheelchair Basketball Canada profile on Nik Goncin

Wheelchair Basketball Canada, November 4, 2019
Photo Credit: Dave Holland/Canadian Paralympic Committee

Toronto – Nik Goncin credits wheelchair basketball with giving him a renewed sense of direction in his life after he lost his left leg to cancer at the age of 15. A rising star since he began playing the sport in 2008, Goncin is poised for the biggest year yet of his career with his compass firmly set towards Tokyo 2020 and a growing desire to give back to the sport.

“Tokyo 2020 will be my second Games experience so my approach is going to be completely different,” said Goncin. “I’m four years older and I’m at a different place in my life.”

Goncin feels much more comfortable with his game and knows what to expect going into Tokyo thanks to previous team trips to Japan. With less than a year to go before the Paralympics, he also recognizes there is much work still to be done.

“I’m confident that I will be where I want to be come Tokyo 2020.”

Full Wheelchair Basketball Canada story

Basketball Olympic qualifier

Three Saskatchewan connections to Canada Basketball Olympic qualifier roster

Canada Basketball, October 25, 2019
Photo Credit: Canada Basketball / Victory

Canada Basketball announced the athletes and team staff attending the FIBA Women’s Olympic Pre-Qualifying Americas Tournament in Edmonton next month.

The group includes Regina’s Quinn Dornstauder, Saskatchewan-based head coach Lisa Thomaidis and Saskatoon physiotherapist Rhonda Shishkin.

“It’s always such an amazing experience when you get to have meaningful games played in Canada,” said Thomaidis, Head Coach, Senior Women’s National Team.  “With our road to Tokyo going through Edmonton, we couldn’t ask for anything more.  We are excited to showcase the team that we have put in place for these games, and know that the quality of the competition and the athletes that will be on display will not disappoint.”

Full Canada Basketball Release

Newkirk has sights set

Para swimmer Shelby Newkirk keeps Paralympic dream alive with silver medal at World Para Swimming Championship

Ryan Flaherty, Global Saskatoon, October 23, 2019
Photo Credit: Canadian Paralympic Committee

Saskatoon’s Shelby Newkirk is ready with eyes forward to the 2020 Paralympic Games.

The 23-year-old para swimmer and 2018 Saskatchewan Sport Award Female Athlete of the Year won a silver medal in the S7 100-metre backstroke at the World Para Swimming Championship in London in September. She also competed in the W 50 m Freestyle S7, W 100 m Freestyle S7 and the W 100 m Breaststroke SB6 at the Championship.

Full Global Saskatoon Story

Molleken on baseball roster

Regina’s Molleken named to Baseball Canada Olympic qualifier roster

Baseball Canada, October 8, 2019
Photo Credit: Canadian Olympic Committee/Christopher Morris

Ottawa – Baseball Canada is pleased to announce the names of 28 athletes selected to represent Canada at the 2019 WBSC Premier12® that will take place from November 2 – 17.

The 12-nation event will see Canada compete in Group C at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea with opening round games against Cuba, host South Korea and Australia. The top two teams in the group will advance to Japan to compete in the Super Round from November 11-16.

Two spots in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be awarded at Premier12 with one going to the highest-placed finisher from the Americas and one to the highest finisher in the Super Round/Finals from the Asia/Oceania region.

Full Baseball Canada Release – EN | FR

Para athletes head to worlds

Four Saskatchewan connections selected to represent Canada at 2019 World Para Athletics Championships

Athletics Canada, September 27, 2019
Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan/Canadian Paralympic Committee

Ottawa – Athletics Canada announced today the 28 athletes who have been selected to represent Canada at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships. The meet will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from November 7-15, 2019.

The group includes Saskatoon’s Ilana Dupont and Saskatchewan-based Jessica Frotten, as well as coaches Carla Nicholls and Rick Reelie.

The team is comprised of 15 men and 13 women, with 13 athletes returning from the 2017 World Championships team that finished 15th among competing nations at the event in London, England. Two years ago, Canada won 9 medals (4 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze) and earned 38 top 8 finishes.

“Diversity is the word that comes to mind,” said Carla Nicholls, Athletics Canada’s Para Performance Lead. “We have a great mix of veterans and rookies, men and women, with multiple sport classification entries – all who will be competing for a spot on the podium.”

Full Athletics Canada Release