Yesterday, the Canadian men and women’s national goalball teams were officially named for the home hosted 2015 Parapan American Games scheduled to officially get underway on August 7. The men’s team includes Brendan Gaulin, Aron Ghebreyohannes, Bruno Hache, Dorval, Blair Nesbitt, Simon Richard, Ahmad Zeividavi. The women’s team includes Ashlie Andrews, Whitney Bogart, Amy Burk, Charlottetown, Tiana Knight, Jillian MacSween, and Cassandra Orgeles.
Men’s national team coach Danny Snow was quoted in the press release announcing the roster as saying, “We feel that the men’s team which is nominated fulfills both short-term and long-term goals for the CBSA. […] Short-term, our goal is to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games; long-term, our goal is to be a podium potential team for the next two Paralympic Games.”
High performance director for Canadian Blind Sports Shane Esau was quoted in the same release as saying, “I whole-heartedly support the teams nominated, and feel that both the men and the women have a great chance to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games. […] These teams combine both great defensive skills with exceptional offensive skills.”
Marathon, Ontario native Bogart should play a key role in Canada’s attempt to qualify for the Rio hosted 2016 Summer Paralympics, while better their bronze medal finish at the 2011 Parapan American Games in Mexico. She was part of the Canadian team that competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. It took Bogart a few years of participating in the sport before making the national squad. She first played in 2001, and made her national team début in 2005 but did not make the cut for the 2008 Paralympic team. She has a history of winning at the highest level, because she was part of the 2011 IBSA World Championships and Games which won gold.
Montreal born and Vancouver resident Gaulin will be looking to have his team improve on their 2011 Parapan American Games performance where they finished fourth. He has a lot of international experience, as he was also part of the Canadian men’s team at the 2008 Summer Paralympics where his team finished fifth and the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games. Gaulin first took up the sport in 2000, following in the footsteps of his sister who created a recreational league in 1999 in Montreal and played for the Quebec providence team. Outside of the national level, Gaulin has enjoyed a lot of success in high level domestic competitions. At last year’s national competition, he scored the winning goal for British Colombia in a penalty shootout against Nova Scotia. He has also been name the MVP of the Canadian Goalball championships.
Competition for both the men and women officially gets underway on Saturday, August 8 at the Mississauga Sports Centre. The men open against the United States at 14:00 local time, while the women play Brazil at 15:15.