Atos Markham Pan Am/Parapan Am Centre to host badminton, water polo and table tennis competitions
MARKHAM, ON, Nov. 23, 2014 /CNW/ - One of biggest pool parties in Markham's history helped kick off the official opening today of the Atos Markham Pan Am/Parapan Am Centre, the home of badminton, table tennis and water polo competitions next summer during the Games.
The $78.5-million multi-purpose centre, which recently hosted its first international badminton competition, is located in the city's developing downtown core and was jointly funded by the Government of Canada and the City of Markham.
"Markham is a city that has truly embraced the spirit of the 2015 Games. Not only have residents signed up by the hundreds to volunteer, Markham is now home to one of the newest and best athletic facilities in Ontario and Canada — one that will serve the residents of this community for decades to come," said Saäd Rafi, chief executive officer of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015).
"Already, we've heard rave reviews from top athletes when they competed here at the 2014 Pan American Badminton Championships," he said. "This means Markham is ready for prime time at the Games!"
Top water polo athletes will go for Pan Am glory — and an Olympic qualifying berth for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games — in the 10-lane, 50-metre Olympic-sized swimming pool on July 7-9 and 11-15.
Both the men's and women's American teams are the reigning Pan Am champions in the pool, but Canada and Brazil are also ranked within the world's top 20 teams, winning silver and bronze, respectively, at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games.
"This remarkable facility will not only be a focal point of activity during the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, but will also serve this community for many years to come," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "As 2015 has been declared the Year of Sport in Canada, our Government is especially proud to support these Games. We look forward to welcoming the athletes, coaches and visitors to Canada next summer."
The Centre's field house boasts a triple gymnasium with 12.5-metre-high ceilings that meet international badminton, volleyball and other sport height requirements for an ideal field of play.
Top badminton players like Canada's Michelle Li — a two-time Pan Am champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist who has already tasted victory on her home court in Markham — will do battle in the field house from July 11 to 16, followed by the table tennis players on July 19 to 25.
In 2011, Canada also scored a Pan Am gold in table tennis when Mo Zhang triumphed in the women's singles.
"Thanks to the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, Ontario is better able to serve our communities and our athletes with incredible world-class facilities like the Atos Markham Pan Am/Parapan Am Centre," said Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. "It's a wonderful legacy for the community, both in terms of public recreation and in attracting top sport tourism events to Markham, like the recent Pan American Badminton Championships."
Tickets for water polo, badminton and table tennis in Markham cost $20 to $45 each and will go back on sale on a first-come, first-served basis at TORONTO2015.org/tickets on Monday, December 8.
In August, the Centre will also host the best table tennis players at the 2015 Parapan Am Games. In 2011, para-athlete Ian Kent won gold in men's singles and silver with his partner Masoud Mojtahed in the men's team competition. Stephanie Chan also took silver in the women's singles. Brazil and the USA are top contenders in the sport, and the action promises to be fierce on the table next summer.
Parapan Am tickets will go on sale in spring 2015.
"Markham is beyond excited to officially open the doors of the Atos Markham Pan Am/Parapan Am Centre and welcome the community and the world to our city," said Markham Mayor, Frank Scarpitti. "We want everyone to know that not only are we ready for the Games in the bricks-and-mortar sense, we're also ready to celebrate and showcase what Markham has to offer next summer."
"As premier partner for TORONTO 2015, we are proud to be the named sponsor of the Atos Markham Pan Am/Parapan Am Centre," said Holger Kormann, chief executive officer of Atos in Canada. "As an international leader in digital services and a longtime Worldwide Olympic and Paralympic Partner, we're excited to play a role in the welcoming Games spirit of Markham next summer."
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:
Director, media relations and chief spokesperson, TO2015