Tokyo 2020 games postponed

COC and CPC thank IOC for its decision to postpone Games to 2021

Canadian Paralympic Committee, March 24, 2020

IOC has given Tokyo hopefuls worldwide the clarity they need about the immediate future

TORONTO/OTTAWA – The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) issued the following statement on Tuesday in reaction to the conclusion made by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Thomas Bach, and Japanese Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo, that the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020:

The COC and CPC would like to thank President Thomas Bach, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee for this decision which continues to show their commitment to safeguarding the health and safety of athletes and the world community.

We also renew our commitment to work with the IOC, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and offer them our full support in helping navigate all the complexities that rescheduling the Games will bring.

With this postponement, the IOC has given Tokyo hopefuls worldwide the clarity they need about the immediate future, so we can all concentrate on our collective health and wellbeing and take all necessary steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

We are confident that when the time comes, the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee will deliver a world-class Games that celebrates the Olympic and Paralympic values and unites and inspires the world. The Olympic and Paralympic Games have long been a symbol of hope and Tokyo 2020 will be a celebration of all that we now seek to overcome. There may be no better way to move on from this most difficult time than seeing the world brought together through sport the way only a Games can. 

We are incredibly proud of the leadership and resilience that our athletes, National Sport Organizations, partners and the Canadian sport community have demonstrated in these unprecedented times. While postponement comes with its own set of challenges, Team Canada will rise to the challenge to showcase our very best on the international stage.

Kramer headed to Paralympics

Saskatoon’s Eric Kramer has been selected as a para swimming coach for the Tokyo 2020 team.

Swimming Canada, February 19, 2020
Photo Credit: Swim Saskatchewan

OTTAWA – The Canadian Paralympic team for Tokyo 2020 continued to take shape on Monday with the nomination of three award-winning coaches to the squad that will compete at the 16th Summer Paralympic Games from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.

Eric Kramer, Marc-André Pelletier and Mike Thompson join a group of seven athletes who were nominated for the Canadian delegation last September following the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London.

Kramer, Pelletier and Thompson have all merited national coaching awards from Swimming Canada over the past two seasons.

“I’m very glad to have Mike, Eric and Marc-André declare their availability and interest in joining our team for the Tokyo Games. As home coaches of swimmers already achieving nomination for the team, I know they have the skills and experience to do the job,” said Wayne Lomas, Swimming Canada’s Associate Director of High Performance and Para Swimming National Coach. “Coaches play an incredibly important role in facilitating peak performance of swimmers and all three have demonstrated their ability to help swimmers, not just from their own training groups, to achieve their very best on the day that matters.

“In making these appointments now, I’m looking to provide our coaches and swimmers with certainty in their preparations. I’m confident in the abilities of Marc-André, Eric and Mike.”

Kramer, who earned back-to-back Swimming Canada Coach of the Year (Female Para-swimmer) recognitions in 2017 and 2018, will make his Paralympic Games debut in Tokyo.

At the helm of the Saskatoon Lasers Swim Club since 2015, he was part of the Canadian coaching staff at London 2019 where two of his athletes competed, including Shelby Newkirk, who captured silver in the women’s 100-m backstroke S7.

Earlier in his career, Kramer was the personal coach of Olympic bronze medallist Patricia Noall (Seoul 1988) and Olympian Martine Dessureault (Atlanta 1996). He was also an assistant coach for Canada at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.

Read the full story on Swimming Canada

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