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Team Canada Boosted by Calgarians at Parapan American Games

Of the 140 athletes from Canada set to compete at the 2023 Parpan American Games, a number of Calgary-area talents are ready to shine.

The Canadian contingent in Santiago, Chile – which will take part in events from Nov. 17-26 – includes 16 Albertans.

Here’s a look at the competitors from the Calgary-area who will be looking to medal in South America:

  • Chad Jassman is a veteran on the wheelchair basketball team. The 40-year-old, who broke his back in a vehicle crash in 2004, has appeared in three Paralympic Games and another three Parapan American Games since 2010. The Calgarian also won three world championships and was a member of Canada’s gold-medal winning squad in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
  • Zak Madell – Team Canada’s flagbearer at the closing ceremonies of the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games closing –will try to help guide the wheelchair rugby team to the podium. The Okotoks native, who has a diploma in architectural technology from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2014 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships. Madell won silver at the 2012 Paralympic Games, along with a gold medal at the 2015 Parapan American Games and another silver medal at the 2019 Parapan American Games.
  • Calgarian Alister McQueen has been competing in para athletics for Canada since 2011 and he won a silver medal in men’s F64 javelin at the 2016 Paralympic Games. McQueen, who had his left leg amputated at nine months of age due to a congenital birth condition, is a well-rounded athlete who grew up playing hockey, football and swimming. He has participated in the Parapan American Games on three occasions and he won two medals in 2011.
  • A former swimmer with the University of Calgary Dinos, Tianna Rissling switched to para athletics after she was diagnosed with a stroke. Rissling works as a positive behaviour support coordinator at Calgary’s Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre.
  • Michael Sametz will compete in para cycling for Canada. After missing the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo because of illness and injury, Sametz seek a place on the podium once again. The Calgarian had a bronze medal in the time trial at the 2023 para cycling road worlds. He was also a bronze medallist at the 2016 Paralympic Games and won silver at the 2015 Parapan American Games.
  • After winning silver in the men’s T20 long jump at the 2023 Para Athletics World Championships, Calgarian Noah Vucsics will look to build on his recent success. He set a Canadian record with a 7.35 metre jump at that event. Vucsics first competed in track and field at the age of 10 years old, but he suffered an injury that required knee surgery.

“Santiago is going to provide so much compelling competition, whether it’s athletes pursuing a spot at the Paralympic Games or getting their first taste of major international competition,” said Josh Vander Vies, co-chef de mission, in a Canadian Paralympic Committee press release.

“It is a huge honour and accomplishment to represent Canada on a stage like the Parapan Am Games, and the entire team’s Canadian pride will shine through. We are all ambassadors for Para sport and disability inclusion, and each athlete has had their own unique journey to get to the Games. Ultimately, we are here to support the entire team to be able to ready, perform at their best, and have a positive experience.”

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