Ottawa, October 23, 2023 – Twelve goalball players have been nominated to represent Canada at the Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Canadian Blind Sports Association announced Monday.
Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team – GOALBALL – WOMEN’S 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
Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team – GOALBALL – MEN’S TEAM
- Blair Nesbitt – Edmonton, AB
- Brice Parker – London, ON
- Aaron Prevost – Cornwall, ON
- Doug Ripley – Vancouver, BC
- Mason Smith – Middleton, NS
- Ahmad Zeividavi – Vancouver, BC
All six members of the women’s team are returning from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and the 2022 world championships. In Tokyo, the squad did not advance out of the group stage but improved a year later to finish fourth at the 2022 worlds.
This past summer, the women also secured a fourth-place result at the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games. They are currently ranked No. 7 in the world and third in the Americas.
“I am excited and honoured to have the opportunity to be part of Team Canada in Santiago,” said Whitney Bogart, a three-time Paralympian. “Our goal at the Games is to finish as the best in the Americas. By finishing on top, we also will reach our goal of qualifying for Paris.”
“I am an immigrant here in Canada. Canada has given me a peaceful and a better life, in every aspect,” said Maryam Salehizadeh, who made her debut for Canada at the Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games. “My goal in Chile is to continue striving to be the best athlete that I can be, and to help my team qualify for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. I feel this is the best way for me to repay all that I’ve received from Canada.”
Ranked No. 15 in the world and third in the Americas, the Canadian men finished 13th at the 2022 world championships. The team has not qualified for the Paralympic Games since Rio 2016, where they finished eighth.
Three members of the men’s squad are Paralympians (Blair Nesbitt, Doug Ripley, and Ahmad Zeividavi), with four members returning from the 2022 worlds team. Brice Parker, Aaron Prevost, and Mason Smith will be making their major multi-sport Games debuts.
“Representing Team Canada, the maple leaf, and everyone who supported me and my teammates on our journey to qualify for the Paralympics means a lot,” said Blair Nesbitt, a Rio 2016 Paralympian. “I definitely want to show that all the support and hard work has paid off by reaching the highest level of sport and inspiring the future generation.”
“It is an honour and a privilege to represent my country in Santiago,” said Brice Parker. “This opportunity brings me one day closer to my dream of reaching the Paralympics. The team is confident in our ultimate goal of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.”
Both teams won bronze medals at the Parapan Am Games in Lima four years ago.
The goalball tournament in Santiago will take place November 18-24, with the winner of both the women’s and men’s tournaments earning a spot for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games next summer. Eight countries will ultimately comprise the Paralympic Games fields.
“Congratulations to all 12 goalball players who have been nominated for the Parapan Am Games,” said Karolina Wisniewska, co-chef de mission, Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team. “It has been so exciting to see the women’s team on the cusp of making the podium at recent major international events, and it will be great to see their progress in Santiago. I know both the women’s and men’s teams have been working really hard with their preparation, and I will be thrilled to support them in Santiago.”
“I am very much looking forward to cheering on both Canada’s women’s and men’s goalball teams in Santiago,” said Josh Vander Vies, co-chef de mission. “These Games are a significant event on the goalball calendar and on the road to Paris, and we will do everything we can to support them to reach their goals in Santiago.”
The Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games will take place November 17-26, 2023 in Santiago, Chile. Canada is expecting to send a team of approximately 140 athletes.
Prior to being officially named to the Canadian Parapan Am Team, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
The current list of athletes nominated to the team can be found HERE. The approved final roster will be announced closer to the start of the Games.