Canada sending 128 athletes to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
Delegation features 26 previous Paralympic medallists
The Canadian Paralympic Committee has confirmed its delegation heading to Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Canada is sending 128 athletes to the Games, which officially begin on Aug. 24.
The team features a variety of experience with 26 previous medallists and 68 athletes returning from the Rio 2016 squad. The group is comprised of athletes from 11 provinces and territories and features 71 women and 57 men.
"Canada's Paralympians are absolute stars," Stephanie Dixon, the chef de mission of Canada's Paralympic Team, said in a release.
"They are among the best athletes in the world, and I can't wait for their incredible hard work, talent, dedication, and perseverance to be celebrated across Canada."
🇨🇦 TEAM CANADA 🇨🇦 for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo! Click here for the full roster ➡️ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TeamCanada?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TeamCanada</a> <a href="https://t.co/wendY8ItE1">https://t.co/wendY8ItE1</a> <a href="https://t.co/sgi5cxLYSG">pic.twitter.com/sgi5cxLYSG</a>—@CDNParalympics
Accomplished athletes return
Karen Van Nest (Para archery) is set to make her sixth Paralympic Games appearance, along with Patrice Simard (wheelchair rugby).
Another six athletes are heading to their fifth Games, including Brent Lakatos (Para athletics) and Lauren Barwick (Para equestrian).
Lakatos headlines the Canadian medallists, with seven to his name already. The Dorval, Que., native struggled with health issues in 2019 but secured two golds and one silver at the 2019 International Paralympic Committee world championships.
Combined with his four golds at the 2017 worlds, Lakatos will be looking to add to his medal haul in Tokyo.
Aurelie Rivard (Para swimming) has five medals herself, the second-most of any Paralympian on the team. The 25-year-old from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., set four Canadian records en route to winning three golds and one silver in Rio.
"It has been a challenging 18 months preparing for these Games. I can't wait to cheer on all 128 Canadian athletes at the Games knowing that millions of Canadians will be cheering for them back at home," said Dixon.
Canada will be competing in 18 different sports at the Games and striving to match their medal count in Rio, where the team won a total of 29 medals — eight gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze — placing 14th overall.
The Canadians also qualified five teams for Tokyo, including women's goalball, women's sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby, women's wheelchair basketball and men's wheelchair basketball.
Fresh faces mark debut
The roster will also have plenty of fresh faces, with 55 athletes making their Paralympic debuts.
At 17, Nicholas Bennett (Para swimming) will be the youngest member of the team. When he was 15, he won three gold and a silver at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima.
Para badminton will be held for the first time in Tokyo, and Olivia Meier will be Canada's first Paralympian in the sport.
Jessica Tuomela of Sault Ste Marie, Ont., is set to make a Games debut in the Para triathlon (previously Para swimming) while Lyne Tremblay of Magog, Que., will take part in Shooting Para sport (formerly Para archery).
The team will be assisted by 113 coaches and support staff.
The Paralympic Games will run from Aug. 24 through Sept. 5