365 Days and Counting! Are You Ready for the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games?

Video debuting tonight at Toronto Blue Jays game showcases para-athletes training for 2015

TORONTO, Aug. 7, 2014 /CNW/ - Wheelchair basketball player David Eng stares down his competition in a new video — called Are You Ready? — profiling three Canadian para-athletes hoping to win gold on home soil at the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games.

The video, which will have its official debut tonight on the biggest screen in Canada in front of tens of thousands of fans at the Toronto Blue Jays home game, is in honour of the one-year countdown to the Games — the largest Parapan Am Games ever held and the first in Canada.

In 365 days, the best para-athletes in the Americas and Caribbean — more than 1,600 — will be coming to Toronto because all 15 sports at the Parapan Am Games will be qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

"The TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games will be an amazing celebration of athletes with phenomenal talents and abilities from across Canada and our neighbours to the south," said Saäd Rafi, chief executive officer of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015).

"This video offers a fresh perspective on familiar sports like basketball and cycling, while highlighting the intense training these athletes undertake every day," he added. "We want everyone who sees this video to be inspired and ask themselves Are You Ready? to come out and show your support in the stands next summer. Because obviously these athletes are ready to go for gold in 2015!"

In the video, Eng — a two-time Paralympic champion from Montreal — shows off his formidable strength by doing chin-ups while strapped in his wheelchair, and smashing into a fellow player while jostling for the ball on the court.

Up-and-coming para-swimmer and CIBC Team Next athlete Danielle Kisser is also featured as she dives into the deep end and does laps against a sea-and-sky Vancouver landscape, while para-cyclist Jaye Milley dons his prosthetic racing legs and speeds through the bustling streets of downtown Toronto. The video can also be viewed now at TORONTO2015.org.

Tonight, Milley, a quadruple amputee who was born with his arms and legs underdeveloped, will also throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Toronto Blue Jays game.

Media interested in interviewing these athletes or in learning more about the Parapan Am Games are to contact TO2015 media detailed below.

Next August, Milley plans on competing for Parapan gold at the brand-new Cisco Milton Pan Am/Parapan Am Velodrome, where he will fearlessly pilot his bicycle at speeds surpassing 40 kilometres an hour around and around the steeply banked 250-metre track.

"I can hardly wait to compete here one year from today — and this time I plan on standing on the podium in front of my friends and family," said Milley, who finished fourth in the 1,000-metre time trial at the Guadalajara 2011 Parapan Am Games. "It'll be wonderful to do so in Milton, the new home of Canadian cycling."

In addition, special community Parapan Games one-year countdown celebrations will be held today at 10 a.m. in Markham, the home of para-table tennis for the Games, at the Cornell Community Centre.

On Saturday, August 9, the Abilities Centre in Whitby will also hold a formal ceremony, as well as an art display, children's craft activities and boccia sport demonstrations for people of all ages and abilities to try in celebration of the Games.

The Whitby event, which starts at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 11:30 a.m., will coincide with the start of the 2014 Ontario Boccia Championships at the Abilities Centre, the home of Parapan judo and boccia during the 2015 Parapan Am Games.

Both one-year countdown celebrations in Markham and Whitby are free and open to the public.


"Just one year from now, Canada will welcome the top para-athletes from the Americas and Caribbean to the TORONTO 2015 Parapan American Games. Our Government is proud to support these Games, which will create opportunities for more Canadians to get involved in parasport in brand-new and updated facilities, while also making it possible for our Canadian athletes to compete — and win — on home soil."

— The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport)

"Almost 40 years after hosting Canada's first Paralympic Games, Ontario looks forward to welcoming world-class para-athletes from around the world at the largest Parapan American Games ever held, just one year from today. Increasing awareness and excitement around parasport and showcasing the strides we are making in creating accessible spaces are just some of the important legacies Ontarians will benefit from in hosting these Games."

—The Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

"Toronto is proud to be the Host City of the 2015 Parapan American Games. We look forward to welcoming thousands of talented para-athletes, coaches, fans and visitors to Toronto next August. Our city is excited about these Games and the new and improved recreation infrastructure they're creating for residents of all abilities for decades to come. I encourage everyone to support the Games by volunteering, joining a celebration event, buying a ticket, and inviting friends and family to visit Toronto next summer."

— Mayor Rob Ford, City of Toronto

"This time next year, we will welcome extraordinary athletes from across the Americas – athletes who will defy the impossible and inspire all Canadians. As the Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games and Premier Partner of the Canadian Paralympic Team, CIBC is proud to support and cheer on Canada's amateur athletes, and we hope kids across Canada will be inspired by their stories and even one day become our next generation of athletic stars."

Richard Nesbitt, Chief Operating Officer, CIBC

"It's official, we're now one year out from the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto. I'm looking forward to leading Team Canada in what promises to be our largest and most successful Parapan Am team in history. Team Canada's goal for Toronto is to place in the top three nations in total medal count and to prepare athletes to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. I know that these home Games in Toronto will engage the Canadian public to cheer loudly for parasport, just as when Canada hosted the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games four years ago."

Elisabeth Walker-Young, Team Canada Chef de Mission

About TO2015
The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) is tasked with managing and delivering the Games. It is working to bring some of the world's best athletes and artists to the Greater Golden Horseshoe region, giving Ontarians a unique chance to be part of the action, and making the region a hub for sport.

The TORONTO 2015 Games are funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, as well as Lead Partner CIBC and other partners and sponsors.

The TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games will take place July 10–26 and the Parapan American Games August 7–15.

For more information about the Games, please visit TORONTO2015.org.

SOURCE: Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

For further information: Teddy Katz, Director, media relations and chief spokesperson, TO2015, 416.957.2117, teddy.katz@toronto2015.org

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Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

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