After winning world gold last year, the Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team are looking to land a second major title in less than 12 months with victory at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.
Canada open their Toronto 2015 campaign on Saturday (7 August) evening at the Ryerson Athletic Centre with a game against Guatemala.
Returning to Ryerson will hold many happy memories for the Canadian team. It is the same venue that they won the world title in last year with a thrilling 54-50 victory over Paralympic champions Germany.
“Having the Parapan Am at home means everything. We have our families and friends here to support us, and the home crowd that is going to cheer for us. We will try to use all that positive energy we can possibly muster to optimise our results,” said Canadian star player Cindy Ouellet.
“We know the court, it is our home court and we have won in that court.”
In spite of the fact that they are strong favourites for gold in Toronto, the Canadians will have to face a strong US team who were bronze medallists at last year’s World Championships. Four years ago at the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, USA beat Canada to gold 69-31.
Ouellet knows winning will not be a formality.
“Everybody can win on any given day. They are all international teams that can win, but the US is the major rival nowadays,” added Ouellet.
The draw has pitted Canada against Guatemala, Brazil and Mexico in Group A, whilst Argentina, El Salvador, Peru and the United States make up Group B. The two best teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals. The ones that finish amongst the three best teams will make it to Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
“We are feeling good, ready and excited to start. We have been training very hard for the last two months. The whole delegation from Canada is really ready and we want to get as many medals as we can,” said Ouellet.
To buy tickets for wheelchair basketball at Toronto 2015, please visit Ticketmaster.