Men's national wheelchair basketball team to train in Vancouver prior to heading to Beijing



    VANCOUVER, Jan. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's national men's wheelchair
basketball team will be training in Vancouver from January 13-15, 2008 in
preparation for an invitational tournament this month at the 2008 Paralympic
venue in China.
    The Canadian team, which has already qualified for the Beijing 2008
Paralympic Games, will be practicing at Guildford Recreation Centre in
Vancouver, and then heading to the Good Luck Beijing International
Invitational, running January 20-25 in Beijing, China.
    "The opportunity to play and train at the venues where we will compete in
the 2008 Paralympics is a very important part of our preparation. This is a
key step on the road to our goal (of winning gold)," said head coach Mike
Frogley. "We are really looking forward to going to China and testing our
skills against some of the best teams in the world."
    The tournament is being held at the recently completed National Indoor
Stadium in Beijing, China. The building is shaped like an unfolded fan,
reflecting a combination of traditional and modern architecture.
    "We are happy to be given an opportunity to compete at the same Games
venue as this year's Paralympics. Not many teams will be given that chance,"
said head associate coach Jerry Tonello. "Getting a sense for the Chinese
culture and environment will also help immensely with our preparation in
defence of our Paralympic gold this September."
    China, Australia, the Netherlands and Canada are competing in the men's
division at the Good Luck Beijing tournament. Several members of the Canadian
team are from British Columbia, including Richard Peter and Robert Hedges.
    Canada qualified for the 2008 Paralympic Games by winning silver at the
2007 Parapanamerican Games in August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In Rio, Canada
lost a tight game 52-50 to the United States in the final.
    However, Canada heads into the 2008 Paralympic Games as the number one
seed by virtue of its status as the reigning world champion. Canada won gold
at both the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games and the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games.
    "We are looking forward to seeing our men's wheelchair basketball team go
for a third straight gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games," said
Debbie Low, the Canadian Paralympic Committee's 2008 Beijing Games Chef de
Mission. "Canada's participation in the Good Luck Beijing tournament is a key
step in our preparation for the Paralympic Games - the premiere multi-sport
competition for people with a physical disability."
    She added, "Canada will have to be well prepared. The growth of the
Paralympic Movement has produced increased interest and investment in
Paralympic sports around the world and the competition at the Paralympic Games
has intensified. The number of countries fielding delegations to the
Paralympic Games has increased rapidly, growing from 125 countries in Sydney
2000 to 136 in Athens 2004, and more than 140 countries are expected in
Beijing."
    The Beijing Paralympic Summer Games run from September 6-17, 2008 in
China.

    Canadian men'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.

    Players

    David Durepos (Fredericton, NB/Charters Settlement, NB)
    David Eng (Montreal, QC/Montreal, QC)
    Abdi Fatah (Somalia, Africa/Scarborough, ON)
    Robert Hedges (Fort St. John, BC/Burnaby, BC)
    Joey Johnson (Winnipeg, MB/Lorette MB)
    Adam Lancia (Scarborough, ON/Scarborough, ON)
    Ross Norton (Calgary, AB/Edmonton, AB)
    Richard Peter (Duncan, BC/Vancouver, BC)
    Richard Poon (Vancouver, BC/Vancouver, BC)
    Yvon Rouillard (Montreal, QC/Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, QC)
    Corey Smith (Ottawa, ON/Nepean, ON)
    Chris Stoutenburg (Collingwood, ON/Collingwood, ON)

    Coaches

    Jerry Tonello, associate head coach
    Darrell Nordell, assistant coach
    Jamie Peers, assistant coach
    James Laskin, physiotherapist
    Jeff Dunbrack, team manager

    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.




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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