Canada's national women's wheelchair basketball team to compete in Osaka Cup 2008 in Japan



    VANCOUVER, Feb. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - With seasoned veterans Chantal Benoit
and Kendra Ohama, Canada's national women's wheelchair basketball team is
looking to capture gold at the 2nd Friendship Games (Osaka Cup) in Osaka,
Japan, from February 14-17, 2008.
    "Osaka will be a good test of the improvements we have made during two
weeks of training at Douglas College prior to leaving for Japan," said head
coach Tim Frick. "We will be missing a few starters, so it will be an
excellent chance for some other athletes to expand their roles and rise to the
occasion. I expect our defence to be more technically sound, and our attack to
be more intelligent in nature."
    Not making the trip are Jennifer Krempien, Sabrina Pettinicchi and Lori
Radke.
    "Overall, the Osaka Cup will provide valuable experiences for both
players and staff as we build to the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games in
September," added Frick. "Our goal is to capitalize on this opportunity as the
Japanese Wheelchair Basketball Federation is paying a significant portion of
the event costs to allow the teams to attend. For this, we are truly
thankful."
    At the Osaka tournament, the women will compete against some of the
world's top-seeded teams, including Australia, Japan and the United States. At
the first ever Osaka Friendship Games in 2007, Canada won gold with a 66-41
win over Australia.
    "Although it will be at the end of a tiring five-week stretch, the Osaka
Friendship Games is critical to our preparation for the Paralympics Games,"
noted Frick.
    Debbie Low, the Canadian Paralympic Committee's 2008 Beijing Games Chef
de Mission agreed that adequate preparation will be key: "The competition at
the Paralympic Games has intensified as countries are becoming more interested
in and are investing more in Paralympic sports."

    The Canadian women's team is the current reigning World Champions, and is
looking to re-capture at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing the Paralympic
gold medal it earned at the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games. The team won bronze
at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games.

    The Beijing Paralympic Summer Games run from September 6-17, 2008 in
China.

    Canadian women's team roster

    
     (xx) The first city in brackets is the athlete's city of birth and the
          second is his current city of residence.

    Athletes

    Chantal Benoit (Beloeil, QC/Mont-Saint-Hilaire, QC)
    M.J. Boudreault (Prince George, BC/Prince George, BC)
    Jessica Desmazes (Kamloops, BC/Burnaby, BC)
    Elaine Allard (Montreal QC/Laval QC)
    Tracey Ferguson (Toronto ON/Toronto ON)
    Tara Feser (Edmonton, AB/St. Albert, AB)
    Lisa Franks (Moose Jaw, SK/Saskatoon, SK)
    Arley McNeney (Prince George, BC/Prince George, BC)
    Kendra Ohama (Brooks, AB/Calgary, AB)
    Cindy Ouellet (Rivière-du-Loup, QC/Quebec, QC)
    Elisha Williams (Prince George, BC/Prince George, BC)

    Coaches

    Tim Frick, Head Coach
    Bill Johnson, Assistant Coach
    Trish Nicholson, Assistant Coach
    Gretchen McLennon, Physiotherapist

    Friendship Games Osaka Cup - Schedule

    Tuesday, February 12
                                           Arrival in Osaka Japan

    Thursday, February 14
    10 a.m                                 Opening ceremony
    10:45 a.m.                             Japan vs. USA
    1:30 p.m.                              Australia vs. Canada

    Friday, February 15
    10 a.m.                                Japan vs. Australia
                                           USA vs. Canada
    1:30 p.m.                              Canada vs. Japan
                                           USA vs. Australia

    Saturday, February 16
    10 a.m.                                Bronze medal game
    1:30 p.m.                              Gold medal game

    Sunday, February 17
                                           Departure from Osaka
    

    About Canadian Paralympic Committee

    The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, charitable,
private organization that is recognized by the International Paralympic
Committee (IPC). The CPC delivers programs that strengthen the Paralympic
Movement in Canada, including sending Canadian teams to the Paralympic Games.
The CPC empowers persons with physical disabilities, through sport, at all
levels. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.

    About the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Association

    The Canadian Wheelchair Basketball Association (CWBA) is the national
sports governing body responsible for the organization of wheelchair
basketball in Canada. The CWBA is committed to sport excellence in the
development, support and promotion of wheelchair basketball programs and
services for all Canadians. It is committed to providing opportunities for
athletes with a disability to participate in a fully integrated sport program
at the level they choose. It promotes growth at the initiation, developmental,
competitive and elite levels, and offers programs for youth, women and men.




For further information:

For further information: Jeff Dunbrack, Canadian team high performance
coordinator, (613) 260-1296, ext. 202, jeff@cwba.ca; Norma Reveler, Canadian
Paralympic Committee media relations, (613) 569-4333, ext. 227,
norma@paralympic.ca


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