OTTAWA, June 9, 2015 /CNW/ - Table Tennis Canada has selected eight athletes for nomination to represent Canada at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, including 2011 Parapan Am Games gold and silver medallist Ian Kent (Eastern Passage, N.S.) and 2011 Parapan Am Games silver medallists Stephanie Chan (Vancouver, B.C.) and Masoud Mojtahed (Austin, Texas).
The squad features a mix of experience and newcomers to the team, with a number of players expected to contend for a medal in Toronto. Four athletes have previous Parapan Am Games experience, while four athletes will compete in Toronto at their first Games.
The complete table tennis team list appears at the end of this release.
The team is coached by head coach John MacPherson (Dartmouth, N.S.) and assistant coach Zedplin Law (Mississauga, Ont.)
"My goal is that we win multiple medals," said head coach John MacPherson. "We won three in Guadalajara in 2011 and the competition is getting much more difficult. Toronto is a great opportunity for us to qualify for the Paralympic Games. I think there will be a watershed moment out of Toronto when people see this sport, that there will be a tremendous groundswell of interest in playing this sport."
Table tennis players who win gold in Toronto will earn a berth for their country at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Table tennis at the Parapan Am Games is open to athletes with physical disabilities, competing in either standing or sitting classifications, along with a new class for intellectual disability.
The lone female on the team, Chan recently returned from her best ever international competition in Europe, winning a bronze medal in singles and gold in team with a Turkish athlete at the German Open in Bayreuth, Germany – earning Canada's first para-table tennis medals won in Europe.
Team veteran Ian Kent will be aiming in Toronto for a repeat Parapan gold in singles, along with pairing with Masoud Mojtahed in team as they did four years ago in Guadalajara, where they won the silver medal. Martin Pelletier of Gatineau, Que. won bronze medals at three earlier Parapan Am Games in 1999, 2003 and 2007 and will be one to watch in both singles and with newcomer Asad Syed in team.
"Congratulations to our table tennis players and welcome to team Canada!" said Chef de Mission Elisabeth Walker-Young. "Half of the team has previous Parapan Am Games experience, while the other half will be first-timers. What a great opportunity for the team. Mentors and rookies wearing the Maple Leaf with pride! All the best with your final preparations and see you in Toronto."
"I would like to congratulate the athletes named today to Team Canada in Table Tennis for the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "They have been training hard, devoting time and energy to reach this milestone in their sport careers, and we look forward to seeing them compete this summer in Markham during the Year of Sport in Canada."
Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games tickets are currently on sale. The Parapan table tennis competition will take place at the Atos Markham Pan Am/Parapan Am Centre, in Markham, Ont. Tickets are available online at TORONTO2015.org/tickets.
With a goal of finishing in the top three nations in the total medal count, Canada is expected to send approximately 220 athletes to the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games from August 7 to 15. Qualification is ongoing and the full team will be officially announced in July 2015.
Team Canada TABLE TENNIS – Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games
Athlete and coach bios available at paralympic.ca
*Stephanie Chan (Class 7), Vancouver, B.C.
*Masoud Mojtahed (Class 7), Austin, Texas
*Ian Kent (Class 8), Eastern Passage N.S.
*Martin Pelletier (Class 9), Gatineau, Que.
Asad Hussain Syed (Class 9), Toronto Ont.
Asad Murtaza (Class 3), Milton Ont.
Steven Dunn (Class 3), Halifax N.S.
Mikhail Drozdowski (Class 11), Dartmouth, N.S.
*Denotes previous Parapan Am Games experience
Athletes will all compete in singles. Team combinations are: Kent and Mojtahed, Pelletier and Syed, Dunn and Murtaza.
Head coach: John MacPherson (Dartmouth, N.S.)
Assistant coach: Zedplin Law (Mississauga, Ont.)
About Table Tennis Canada
Table Tennis Canada is the national governing body for Table Tennis in Canada. TTCAN's mission is to promote and develop Table Tennis in Canada from the grass roots to the podium.
About the Canadian Paralympic Committee
The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization with 25 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The Canadian Paralympic Committee's vision is to be the world's leading Paralympic nation. Its mission is to lead the development of a sustainable Paralympic sport system in Canada to enable athletes to reach the podium at the Paralympic Games. By supporting Canadian high performance athletes with a disability and promoting their success, the Canadian Paralympic Committee inspires all Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca
SOURCE Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)
Image with caption: "Table Tennis Canada has selected eight athletes for nomination to represent Canada at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, including 2011 Parapan Am Games silver medallist Stephanie Chan (Vancouver, B.C.). Photo: Matthew Murnaghan / Canadian Paralympic Committee (CNW Group/Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150609_C8423_PHOTO_EN_17813.jpg
Image with caption: "Table Tennis Canada has selected eight athletes for nomination to represent Canada at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, including 2011 Parapan Am Games gold and silver medallist Ian Kent (Eastern Passage, N.S.). Photo: Matthew Murnaghan / Canadian Paralympic Committee (CNW Group/Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150609_C8423_PHOTO_EN_17814.jpg
For further information: Thorsten Gohl, Manager Brand & Partnership, Table Tennis Canada, Phone: (613) 733-6272 ext. 224, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | website: www.ttcan.ca; Alison Korn, Senior Manager, Media Relations and Communications, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Cell: 613-298-4927, email@example.com