Six goalball athletes named to Tokyo 2020 Canadian Paralympic Team
Ottawa, June 24, 2021 – The Canadian women’s goalball team is preparing to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games this summer, as the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and Canadian Blind Sports Association (CBSA) announced today the six athletes named to the Canadian Paralympic Team roster.
Half of the team has Paralympic experience, with team captain Amy Burk (Charlottetown, PEI) heading to her fourth Paralympic Games, Whitney Bogart (Marathon, ON) set to make her third appearance, and Meghan Mahon (Timmins, ON) competing at her second Paralympic Games. Three athletes will be making their Paralympic debuts – Brieann Baldock (Edmonton, AB), Emma Reinke (St. Thomas, ON), and Maryam Salehizadeh (Vancouver, BC).
“I am honoured to lead the Canadian women’s goalball team as team captain at the upcoming Tokyo Paralympics,” said Burk. “Getting to wear the maple leaf and represent your country at the highest level on the international stage is one of the greatest feelings you can ever experience – whether it’s your first Paralympics, or your fourth, that feeling never gets old. It has been a very challenging year during the pandemic, and it is with great pride and joy I get to share this adventure with not only my teammates, but with my family and the rest of the country.”
The Canadian women most recently captured a bronze medal at the Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games. They finished fourth at the last world championships, held in 2018, and earned a sixth-place result at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Previously, the women’s Canadian goalball team won a silver medal in 1984, a bronze medal in 1988 and 1992, a gold medal in 2000 and 2004.
“I am extremely excited and honoured to be named to the team to represent Canada at the Paralympics in Tokyo,” said Baldock. “It’s been my dream to make it to the Paralympics and I’m thankful to have gotten there with this amazing team, support staff and coach behind me. My hard work has paid off and I’m so blessed to have an opportunity to show the world what Canada can bring on the world stage. I’m excited for the Paralympic experience and the genuine pride of representing my county and this team.”
Canada will compete in round-robin action alongside RPC, Israel, China, and Australia. The second pool of the women’s tournament is comprised of Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, USA, and Japan. Canada will open its campaign on August 25 against RPC, with the goalball competition running until September 3. The complete schedule can be found HERE.
“This will be my second Paralympics as a coach. I learned a lot from Rio 2016 and hope to build on that experience,” said Trent Farebrother, head coach, women’s national goalball team. “The women’s goalball program has gone through considerable change on and off the court and I am very confident that this will translate into a successful Tokyo 2020 outcome. Everyone has worked very hard during these difficult and challenging times and are excited to resume goalball competitions.”
Goalball is one of only two Paralympic sports that does not have an Olympic equivalent. A sport for athletes with visual impairments, goalball is played on an indoor court with an aim of scoring goals by throwing a ball into the opponent’s net. Three athletes are on court per team at a time, and all players wear eyeshades to ensure the same level of impairment for a fair playing field. The ball has a bell inside it, and players use their hearing to track the ball and orient themselves on the court by feeling for tactile lines.
Canada is a four-time Paralympic medalist in the sport of goalball, with the women’s team earning back-to-back gold medals in 2000 and 2004 as well as a silver in 1984, and the men’s squad securing a silver in 1996. The men’s team did not qualify for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
“A huge congratulations to all six selected goalball athletes!” said Stephanie Dixon, chef de mission of the Tokyo 2020 Canadian Paralympic Team. “I am so happy to welcome each of them to the Canadian team. I know how hard they have worked to get to this point, and can’t wait to support them in Tokyo.”
TOKYO 2020 PARALYMPIC GAMES WOMEN’S GOALBALL TEAM
Brieann Baldock – Edmonton, AB
Whitney Bogart – Marathon, ON
Amy Burk – Charlottetown, PEI
Meghan Mahon – Timmins, ON
Emma Reinke – St. Thomas, ON
Maryam Salehizadeh – Vancouver, BC
The postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will take place August 24 to September 5, 2021 in Japan. Canada is expecting to send a team of approximately 130 athletes, and audiences across the country will be able to follow all the action live through coverage from the Canadian Paralympic Media Consortium, including broadcast partners CBC/Radio-Canada, AMI, and Sportsnet, and digital partners Twitter, Facebook, and MXZN.
CLICK HERE to see the complete list of athletes named to the Canadian Paralympic Team. The Canadian Paralympic Committee will announce the official full team heading to the Games later this summer.
About Canadian Paralympic Committee: Paralympic.ca
About Canadian Blind Sports Association: CanadianBlindSports.ca
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