Canada names Rio Paralympic goalball team
Women's squad won back-to-back gold in 2000 and 2004
The Canadian Paralympic Committee has selected the 12 athletes that will represent Team Canada in men's and women's goalball at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in September.
Both Canadian teams qualified for Rio last summer with bronze-medal performances at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Canada was fifth in women's play and the men were 10th.
The Canadian women won back-to-back gold in 2000 and 2004, silver in 1984 and bronze in 1988 and 1992. The men were silver medallists in 1996.
"This Paralympic-only sport is incredibly competitive internationally and I know both our men's and women's teams will bring their toughest game and compete with pride in Rio," Team Canada's chef de mission Chantal Petitclerc said.
Goalball is played by athletes with a visual impairment in a gym court. The objective of the game is to throw the ball using a bowling motion into the opponent's net while the opposing players try to block the ball with their bodies. The 1.25-kilogram ball has noise bells which help orientate the players.
The women's goalball team is led by Nancy Morin of Longueuil, Que., who is headed to her fifth Paralympic Games and was a member of the 2000 and 2004 gold medal-winning squads.
Two-time world champions Whitney Bogart of Marathon, Ont., and Amy Burk of Charlottetown, P.E.I. are also key veterans headed to their third Games. Ashlie Andrews of Penticton, B.C., and Jillian McSween of Halifax were on the London 2012 squad while Meghan Mahon of Timmins, Ont. makes her Paralympic debut.
The men's side is led by Bruno Haché of Montreal who heads to his fourth Paralympic Games. Rio will be a third Games for Brendan Gaulin of Laval, Que., and a second for Ahmad Zeividavi of Vancouver and Doug Ripley of New Westminster, B.C. Blair Nesbitt of Stony Plain, Alta., and Simon Richard of Dieppe, N.B. are headed to their first Paralympics.
"It is an honour bestowed on very few individuals and I know that these individuals have trained diligently and been dedicated to being the best athletes and goalball players they can be," High Performance director Shane Esau said. "I am excited about the prospects of our teams and know that they can improve on their placings from the London 2012 Paralympic Games if they play well."