Joel Dembe and Philippe Bedard nominated to Canadian Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Team

Both men set to represent Canada at the London Paralympic Games in September

TORONTO, June 21, 2012 /CNW/ - Tennis Canada announced Thursday that two of the nation's top wheelchair tennis players have been nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Team for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Joel Dembe (Toronto) and Philippe Bedard (Montreal) will represent Canada in the men's tournament.

Currently ranked world No. 41, Dembe earned a direct spot into the Paralympic event while Bedard was the beneficiary of a Bipartite Commission Invitation place awarded by the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Committee and International Paralympic Committee. The 2012 Games will mark both Dembe and Bedard's first Paralympic appearance.

"It took a lot of hard work, but now that I've qualified I feel great," said reigning Canadian national champion Dembe. "It's an honour representing Canada, and I plan on practicing hard throughout the summer to improve and peak heading into London. I'm really excited for the Paralympics. It's the pinnacle for me in wheelchair tennis."

Both Dembe and Bedard have plenty of other experience representing Canada on the international stage though, as they participated in the 2011 Guadalajara Parapan American Games last November and also were members of Canada's seventh-place BNP Paribas World Team Cup squad this past month.

"When I started wheelchair tennis three years ago, my main goal and dream was to make it to the Paralympics," Bedard said. "Now that I have done it, all I can say is it's the best feeling ever."

The Paralympic men's singles draw will feature 64 players, while the pairings in the doubles draw will be confirmed in July, with Dembe and Bedard expected to be one of those teams. All of the doubles duos will be selected from the pool of players already competing in the singles competition.

"Both Joel and Philippe are rising stars who have great futures ahead of them in wheelchair tennis," said Team Canada Chef de mission, Gaétan Tardif. "It's wonderful to see their hard work and dedication pay off to earn them their first berths at the Paralympic Games and I'm really looking forward to cheering them on in London and beyond."

The wheelchair tennis event at the London 2012 Paralympic Games will take place September 1-8 at Eton Manor.

About Tennis Canada
Founded in 1890, Tennis Canada is a non-profit, national sport association responsible for leading the growth, promotion and showcasing of tennis in Canada. Tennis Canada owns and operates two of the premier events on the ATP and WTA Tours; Rogers Cup presented by National Bank men's and women's events that rotate annually between Rexall Centre in Toronto and Uniprix Stadium in Montreal. In addition, Tennis Canada owns and operates seven professional ITF sanctioned events and financially supports nine other professional tournaments in Canada. Tennis Canada operates junior national training centres/programs at the Centre of Excellence in Toronto, Uniprix Stadium in Montreal and the North Shore Winter Club in Vancouver. Tennis Canada is a proud member of the International Tennis Federation, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and the International Wheelchair Tennis Association, and serves to administer, sponsor and select the teams for Davis Cup, Fed Cup, the Olympic and Paralympic Games and all wheelchair, junior and senior national teams. Tennis Canada invests its surplus into tennis development. For more information on Tennis Canada please visit our Web site at: www.tenniscanada.com.

SOURCE CANADIAN PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE (CPC)

For further information:

Media Contacts (Toronto):  
Sarah Grossman, Manager, Communications and Media Relations
416-650-7922, sgrossman@tenniscanada.com
Nicole Watts, Coordinator, Communications and Media Relations
416-665-9777 ext. 4092, nwatts@tenniscanada.com

Media Contacts (Montreal): 
Louis-Philippe Dorais, Director, Communications and Marketing
514-273-1515 ext.232, lpdorais@tenniscanada.com
Valerie Tetreault, Coordinator, Communications
514-273-1515 ext.259, vtetreault@tenniscanada.com

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CANADIAN PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE (CPC)

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