Earlier this week, Canadian Cerebral Palsy Association announced their selection for the Canadian 2014-2015 national team that would represent Canada at the 2014 BISFed Boccia World Championships in Beijing in September.
BC1 classified Hanif Mawji and Brock Richardson, BC2 classified Adam Dukovich and Dave Richer, BC3 classified Paul Gauthier, Bruno Garneau and Eric Buissière,and BC4 classified Marco Dispaltro, Josh Vander Vies and Alison Levine. They will be led by national team coach, Mario Delisle.
Nicknamed The Dragon Slayer, Dispaltro, selected for the team, is currently the top ranked BC4 player in the world after finishing first at the Montreal hosted 2014 BISFed World Open in May. This was followed by another win at the Portuguese hosted World Boccia Open in late June.
Other members of the team include Mawji, who was born in Dares Salaam, Tanzania, East Africa and took up the sport in 1990. One of his best ever performances at the elite level was a fifth place finish at the 2006 World Championships. At the 2008 Summer Paralympics, he failed to qualify out of pool play, and he did not make the Canadian team for the 2012 Summer Paralympics.
Levine is the team’s only female player. Following the news about her selection, she said on Twitter, “Extremely honoured to have been selected to represent Canada at the boccia world championships this September in Beijing! #TeamCanada”. Last year, she was one of 63 amateur athletes nationwide to receive a CIBC grant of CAN$15,000 over a period three years to assist in further developing into an elite athlete. Her first major international competition took place Montreal hosted 2014 BISFed World Open in May, where she placed eleventh.
In advance of the world championships, two national team training camps will be held later this month. One training camp will be for BC1 and BC2 classified players, and the other will be for the BC3 and BC4 classified players.