VICTORIA, B.C. – Four international medal-winning Canadian triathletes are not only ready to make history, but are determined to step onto the podium when the sport makes its Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The Canadian Paralympic Committee and Triathlon Canada announced today an experienced group consisting of one man and three women who will be the first Canadians ever to toe the start line in para-triathlon at a Paralympic Games, September 10-11, 2016.
Calgary-based teenage sensation Stefan Daniel will compete in the men’s PT4 division; Winnipeg’s Chantal Givens will be swimming, biking and running in the women’s PT4 category; while Ottawa’s Christine Robbins and her guide, Sasha Boulton, will looking for a medal-winning performance in the women’s PT5 classification for athletes with a visual impairment. Olympic triathlete Carolyn Murray (St. Albert, Alta.) will lead the team as head coach.
“Our sport is still relatively young in Canada, but we have been focused on developing our program with a clear mission for our Paralympic debut in Rio – to win medals, said Jono Hall, high-performance director, Triathlon Canada, who added the national body has been diligent in its recruitment of para-triathletes across the country while also holding centralized training camps over the last three years in preparation for Rio.
“Each of these athletes has demonstrated their fitness and elite level of racing by delivering international medal-winning performances this year. We know these four will do Canada proud in Rio.”
Triathlon boomed across Canada after Simon Whitfield shocked the world to win the first-ever Olympic race in 2000. Canada’s reigning para-triathlon world champion, Stefan Daniel, is looking to replicate the feat for sport in the Paralympic world.
“Representing Canada has always been extremely rewarding, but going to the Paralympics is going to be a totally new and exciting experience,” said Daniel. “I’ve dreamed of representing Canada at the highest level, and I could not be more excited to do it in Rio.”
Born with bilateral radial club hands with his right arm significantly more affected, Daniel has put together an impressive resume over the last four years.
After winning a bronze and silver medal in his first two trips to the World Championships, the 19-year-old Daniel celebrated the gold one year ago in Chicago which capped off a dream season where he racked up three golds and one silver while competing in four World Para-triathlon races last year. Topping that off, he also defied all odds to capture the junior men’s able-bodied National Championship crown in Magog, Que.
One of 22 summer sports on the Paralympic Games schedule September 7 to 18, 2016, the para-triathlon consists of a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike course, and a five-kilometre run. Athletes with various disabilities take part in the sport’s different categories, including amputees, athletes with a visual impairment who compete with a guide, and athletes who use hand cycles and wheelchairs.
‘’It is wonderful that Canada will have such an accomplished presence in para-triathlon’s debut at the Paralympic Games,’’ said Team Canada’s Chef de Mission Chantal Petitclerc. ‘’The ability to excel in three sports requires tremendous dedication and versatility and this sport will be amazing to see at the Paralympic level.’’
“As the excitement grows for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, I know our talented athletes are ready for the first ever Paralympic triathlon competition,” said the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “On behalf of the Government of Canada, I commend the work done by Triathlon Canada to prepare the athletes named today to join Team Canada in Rio. We’re all behind you.”
The athletes nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Team are as follows:
Stefan Daniel (Calgary, Alta.)
Chantal Givens (Winnipeg, Man.)
Christine Robbins (Ottawa, Ont.)
Sasha Boulton (Ottawa, Ont.) – guide to Christine Robbins
The nominated team will be supported by head coach Carolyn Murray (St. Albert, Alta.).