Top three athletes in running for Canadian flag bearer for Beijing Paralympic Games named



    OTTAWA, Aug. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)
today announced that boccia player Paul Gauthier, wheelchair racer Chantal
Petitclerc and swimmer Donovan Tildesley have been chosen as the three
finalists for Canada's flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008
Paralympic Games.
    "It's a great honour to be in the top three as a potential flag bearer
for Canada. In such great company, I'll be proud of whoever has the privilege
to represent the team," said Petitclerc, nominated again after carrying the
flag during the Closing Ceremony at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. "The
Paralympic Movement is getting stronger and stronger every four years, and we
are sending a competitive team again this year. Entering the Bird's Nest will
be an amazing experience."
    The flag bearer will lead the Canadian team into the Beijing National
Stadium, which has been nicknamed the Bird's Nest, during the Opening Ceremony
of the Paralympic Games on September 6.
    "If I were chosen flag bearer, it would almost be more of an honour than
winning a Paralympic medal," said Tildesley.
    Gauthier was equally excited being in the top three, calling it an honour
and saying being "part of an amazing Canadian contingent is always a thrill."
    Gauthier, the defending Paralympic and World champion in the BC3 boccia
singles competition, will be competing in his fourth Paralympic Games. The
athlete with cerebral palsy earned Canada's first gold medal in boccia at the
Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
    Beijing will be Petitclerc's fifth and last Paralympic Games. Throughout
her racing career, she has dominated at the national and international level.
She won 10 gold, four silver and two bronze medals at the last four Paralympic
Games.
    Tildesley, a swimmer with a visual impairment, is a world record holder
who continually gives back to the community. He too plans to retire after
Beijing.
    "What better way to cap an eight-year run with the national swim team
than to represent Canada, not only in the pool but also as flag bearer," he
said.
    Canada is sending a team of 143 athletes to the Beijing Paralympic Games.
    "With the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Paralympic Games just around the
corner, excitement is building," said Canadian team Chef de Mission Debbie
Low. "Our Canadian athletes have trained for years for the upcoming Paralympic
Games, and our coaches, doctors and other Mission staff will be behind them
every step of the way. We invite all Canadians to join us in cheering on
Canada's Paralympians as they take on the world in Beijing."
    The announcement came the day after the Olympic Games closed, and Beijing
began to prepare for the Paralympic Games, running September 6 to 17 at the
same venues.
    The flag bearer will be announced during a special team pep rally on
September 4 in Beijing.

    About the 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: Norma Reveler, Canadian Paralympic Committee,
(613) 569-4333 ext. 227, norma@paralympic.ca


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