New Brunswick

Simon Richard of Dieppe headed to Paralympics for goalball

Simon Richard of Dieppe is headed to his first Paralympic Games next week. The 22-year-old will be part of Canada’s goalball team.

Simon Richard will make his Paralympic debut when the Games begin Sept. 7

Simon Richard will be a member of Canada's men's goalball team for the 2016 Rio Paralympics. (Submitted by Simon Richard)

Goalball player Simon Richard of Dieppe is heading to Rio de Janeiro next week to participate in his first Paralympic Games.

The 22-year-old found out Friday that he was on the roster. "Quite an honor. It was a feeling I never felt before. It's just an honour to represent your country," said Richard.

There was a flurry of phone calls after he got the good news. 

"I phoned my girlfriend. I phoned my parents, had a little chat with them," said Richard. "They were ecstatic, they were super happy about it." 

Goalball players

Goalball is a sport for the visually impaired. Richard was born with aniridia, which means he has no iris. It makes him sensitive to light, and his vision is very blurry. 
Last year Simon Richard won a gold medal at junior nationals with team New Brunswick, beating Ontario in the gold medal game. (CBC News)

Team chemistry is strong among the goalball players. They've competed together before and are all friends. 

"It means the world to me to be on the court with these guys. We have a great group of guys," said Richard.

"It just means the world to me to represent my country and to represent it with this group of guys makes it so special."

Podium aspirations

Richard is no stranger to big competitions.
Simon Richard competed at the Pan Am Games last year, and won a bronze medal. (CBC News)

This summer, the team competed in a tournament in Lithuania where they finished seventh. Last year, when Richard went to the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, they won the bronze medal.

Richard says the team has podium aspirations for Rio. 

"Everybody wants to finish first, but I think we're capable of medaling for sure and having good results there."

Gaining momentum

Richard is practicing with the team in Toronto at their training camp.

They leaves for Rio at the end of the August. 

"The team is doing well, we're having a good training camp here. So we're gaining a lot of momentum I think for Rio, and that's a good thing," he said.

About the Author

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.