A Lloydminster athlete joins Team Canada as they head to Lima, Peru for wheelchair rugby this August. Branden Troutman is one of 12 athletes heading to Lima for the 2019 Parapan American Games. Currently ranked fifth in the world, Canada looks to defend its gold medal from the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto.
Four years ago, the Canadian team memorably defeated arch-rivals the United States 57-54 in the final. Seven members of that team, all of whom are also Paralympians, are returning to the squad. Five players will be making their major Games debut. Patrick Côté, head coach, says that selecting the team was no walk in the park.
“The team selection for Lima 2019 has been the hardest process, since Dave [Willsie, assistant coach] and I joined the national team program as coaches,” says Côté. “I’d like to give kudos to all the players who fought so hard for their spots and managed to take our level of play to the step.
“We are confident that the team we have selected will give us the best chance to succeed, in what will be a difficult competition with highly competitive opponents. Ultimately, our goal is to win gold in Lima, which will automatically qualify Canada for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.”
Wheelchair rugby begins on August 23 and ends with a gold medal match on August 27. Canada competes in a round-robin against the United States (No. 2 in the world), Brazil (No. 9), Colombia (No. 13), Argentina (No. 20) and Chile (No. 21). The top four teams begin a knockout stage, consisting of two semifinals and a final.
Canada’s schedule is as follows:
- August 23: Canada vs. Argentina
- August 24: Canada vs. Brazil
- August 24: Canada vs. Colombia
- August 25: Canada vs. Chile
- August 25: Canada vs. USA
- August 26: Semifinals
- August 27: Gold and bronze medal games
Canada qualifies directly for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games should the team win gold in Lima. Any other result means that Canada competes at the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation 2020 Paralympic Qualification Tournament. Finishing in the top two positions will qualify Canada for Tokyo.
The Lima 2019 Parapan American Games takes place August 23 to September 1 in Peru and will surpass Toronto 2015 as the largest Parapan Am Games ever. A record 1,850 athletes are set to participate and Canada is expected to send a team of approximately 152 athletes and competition partners in 13 sports. The Canadian Paralympic Committee will announce the official full team heading to the Games later this month.