VANCOUVER, March 7 /CNW/ - A wheelchair basketball star from Japan and a US Paralympic skiing hopeful will join with Canadians to help the Paralympic Flame along its journey to Vancouver as we count down to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
Naoki Yasu and Caitlin Sarubbi are international torchbearers with the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay, presented by Coca-Cola and RBC, and supported by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.
"More than 600 torchbearers will proudly carry the flame through 11 communities over 10 days," says Michele McKenzie, president and CEO of the CTC. "We are delighted that these two amazing athletes will be integral in spreading the excitement and inspiration of the Paralympic Torch Relay to global audiences."
Yasu will take up the flame in Whistler on Monday, March 8. He competed in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens and was the first Japanese player to play professional wheelchair basketball in Europe.
Sarubbi will complete her relay run in Vancouver on Thursday, March 11. Sarubbi is a visually-impaired adaptive alpine skier who will be going for gold in Whistler starting on March 13. As part of the Canadian Tourism Commission's Connecting with Canadians program (http://mediacentre.canada.travel/system/files/connecting_canadians_jan_10_en.pdf), Sarubbi and her family travelled to Newfoundland and Labrador last fall to enjoy some famous Atlantic Canadian hospitality and amazing tourism experiences. See them here (http://ctc.pathfireondemand.com/viewpackage.action?packageid=256).
"The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay is designed to illuminate the extraordinary achievements of Paralympians and to celebrate the endless possibilities of the human spirit," said John Furlong, CEO for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). "We are delighted to include torchbearers from around the world to help broaden our reach in sharing the spirit of courage, determination, inspiration and equality that are at the core of the Paralympic Winter Games."
The international torchbearers were invited by VANOC in collaboration with the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC). They are carrying the flame to share the Paralympic spirit internationally while inspiring a global audience with images of Canada.
Their journeys will be documented and shared with their home countries for airing during the Paralympic Torch Relay and the 2010 Paralympic Games, captivating new international audiences to see a trip to Canada in their future plans.
The 2010 Paralympic Winter Games will be held in Vancouver and Whistler from Mar. 12-21, 2010. More than 1,000 athletes and teams officials from 40 countries will be vying for medals in five sports.
About the CTC
The CTC is Canada's national tourism marketing organization. Our vision is inspiring the world to explore Canada. With our partners in the tourism industry and the governments of Canada, the provinces and the territories, we advertise and market Canada in 12 countries around the world, conduct industry research and studies, and promote product and industry development. For daily updates on CTC initiatives, subscribe to CTC News, available through RSS feeds and by e-mail.
VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.
SOURCE Canadian Tourism Commission
For further information: For further information: Jitka Licenik, Corporate Communications Advisor, Canadian Tourism Commission, Tel: (604) 638-2482, Fax: (604) 638-8438, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mediacentre.canada.travel