(Winnipeg, MB) Canada’s push for the podium in wheelchair basketball at the London 2012 Paralympic Summer Games is a team effort, and on Tuesday July 24th, the Canadian Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team and Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba held a demonstration game for members of the media and key supporters to say thank you. Team Canada expressed its appreciation to valued partners as it played host to local dignitaries, key stakeholders and special guests at the University of Manitoba.
“I want to thank the organizations and individuals who have helped us and continue to support us – the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba based here at the University, the University of Manitoba itself, the City of Winnipeg, the Province of Manitoba, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and the Government of Canada. Specifically, I would like to thank Sport Canada and the Own The Podium program, which has been a great supporter of ours throughout this quadrennial and continues to support us on our road to a gold medal in London,” said head coach Bill Johnson.
The Senior Women’s National Team is amongst the most successful and dominant teams in Canadian amateur sport history. The team captured three consecutive Paralympic gold medals in 1992, 1996, and 2000, and bronze in 2004. They have also reached the podium at six consecutive World Championships, winning gold in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006, and bronze in 2010.
Participants in the demo game included local politicians Member of Parliament (Elmwood Transcona) Lawrence Toet, and Manitoba Minister of Housing and Community Development Kerri Irvin-Ross.
“It makes you proud to be a Canadian when you have a team that’s doing as well as this team has done. It is something that our Government recognizes, that Canadian athletes are an enormous source of pride to many Canadians and that they’re exceptional role models for our children and young people,” said Toet.
“That is why we remain committed to providing record level support to the Canadian sport system, to ensure athletes have the tools they need to reach the podium at every opportunity.”
The media game allowed Team Canada to embrace the local community that it has called home during the crucial, final stages of its Paralympic preparations. For the first time in program history, the #3 ranked Canadian Women’s Team is fully centralized at the University of Manitoba from June to August as they make final preparations for London 2012.
Team Canada will depart August 14th for a final tune-up tournament in the Netherlands August 16-19, before moving into the London Paralympic Village.
The London 2012 Paralympic Games run August 29th to September 9th. The Canadian women begin Paralympic competition August 31st against the Netherlands at 7:00pm BST.