By Chanelle Seguin
Canadians participated in various parasports in support of disabled athletes at the 16th annual Active Living Conference in Toronto
. P articipants were given the opportunity to play several Paralympic sports, including, wheelchair basketball, which Invacare Canada builds specialized wheelchairs for.
Today it was announced that Invacare Canada, a manufacturer of homecare and rehabilitation equipment for Canadians with disabilities, and the Canadian Paralympic Committee would partner to provide the best equipment possible for para-athletes all over the country.
“As the new official supplier of the CPC, Invacare will supply equipment to the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s Para-Equipment Fund,”
François Robert, executive director of partnerships for the Canadian Paralympic Committee, announced at the press conference. “And that basically awards grants and equipment to sports organizations across Canada.”
Listen to a clip of François Robert’s address to media at the press conference
Invacare Canada will donate the
equipment to the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s Para-Equipment Fund.
Invacare Canada will provide wheelchairs for basketball and tennis, and hand cycles.
Parasport organizations all over Canada can then apply for grants and
from the fund to provide equipment for their athletes at no cost. .
Vince Morelli, general manager of Invacare Canada, said para-equipment can be very expensive, and he hopes the partnership today will assist athletes with obtaining the equipment they need.
“Compared to a pair of running shoes, which is all it takes to get into running, a wheelchair might set you back over $2,000 and up,” said Morelli. “Providing access to young people to be able to enjoy an active lifestyle is really the key to the relationship we are launching today with CPC.”
Invacare brought three of its hand cycles to the Conference, giving disabled and abled-bodied Canadians a chance to try the equipment it will deliver to CPC and other parasport organizations.
Along with the hand cycles, participants were also given the opportunity to engage in various parasports like sledge hockey, boccia, wheelchair basketball, and sitting volleyball.
Susie Mallory, a graduate of the therapeutic recreation program at Brock University, took advantage of the opportunity to play wheelchair basketball at the event.
She said it’s very important for para-athletes to have the best equipment to compete.
“The fact that we are starting to get improved equipment and higher quality will increase the ability of people participating and increase their competitive nature when playing the sport,” said Mallory.
A few paralympians were on hand for the announcement. Josh Vander Vies, a bronze medalist in boccia from the London 2012 Paralympics, assisted with the participants’ involvement in boccia.
Abdi Dini, a gold medalist in wheelchair basketball from the London 2012 Paralympics was also at the event.
Dini competed at the Paralympics with an Invacare basketball wheelchair.
“This year I had my own (wheelchair) custom made through Invacare,” said Dini. “No matter if you are in a wheelchair or any other sport you need the best equipment to compete and Invacare is a world leader for this equipment so it is great that CPC is partnering with them.”