General News

Philippe Bédard and Doug Blessin Nominated to Team Canada for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

Philippe Bédard Nominated To Team Canada For Rio 2016 Paralympic Games In Wheelchair Tennis

Tennis Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced Monday that Philippe Bédard (Bromont, Que.) has been officially nominated to compete for Canada in wheelchair tennis at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in September.

“This is an amazing achievement,” Bedard said. “I’ve worked extremely hard for this and now that it’s official, I couldn’t be prouder. I will represent Canada this summer in Rio with the determination and the intensity that got me there. And I’ll be smiling the whole way.”

This will be the second Paralympic Games for the 35-year-old, who also competed in London 2012 and reached the second round. He is currently ranked world No. 43 and has won three ITF titles this year in Puerto Rico, Niagara Falls, and Windsor.

Last season, Bédard captured Canada’s historic first-ever wheelchair tennis medal alongside Joel Dembe, winning bronze in men’s doubles at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games.

“A huge congratulations to Philippe for qualifying for his second Paralympic Games,” said Kelly Murumets, president and CEO, Tennis Canada. “We are so wildly proud of Philippe and everything he has accomplished. He could not be more deserving of this honour. We know he will represent Canada well and be an excellent ambassador for both our sport and our country in Rio. Good luck, and we will be cheering you on loudly!”

Wheelchair tennis at Rio 2016 will feature six events – men’s, women’s, and quad singles and doubles. Bédard will compete alongside 51 other athletes in the men’s singles competition. To qualify for Rio, he was the recipient of one of 12 International Tennis Federation Bipartite Commission Invitation places for the men’s singles draw, awarded by the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Committee and the International Paralympic Committee.

“Philippe Bédard continues to be a trailblazer for Canada in wheelchair tennis,’’ said Canada’s Chef de Mission Chantal Petitclerc. ‘’He made history last summer when he and Joel Dembe won Canada’s first ever major Games medal in the sport at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games. And his results so far in 2016 show he is ready to raise the bar again at the Paralympic Games.’’

“Congratulations to Philippe Bédard who has earned a spot on the Canadian Paralympic Team headed to Rio this summer,” said the Honorable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “I know that Philippe will give his all for the Maple Leaf as he pushes for a peak performance in a few short months. All Canadians are behind you.”

Philippe Bédard will be supported in his preparations for Rio by coach Christian Gingras (Quebec City, Que.)

Story and Photo from the Canadian Paralympic Committee |


Shooter Doug Blessin Nominated For Selection To Team Canada For Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

The Shooting Federation of Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced today that Doug Blessin of Port Coquitlam, B.C. has been nominated for selection to Team Canada for this September’s Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

In Rio, Blessin will compete at his second Paralympic Games, shooting in the R4 (air rifle standing) and R5 (air rifle prone) events. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the 43-year-old para-shooter finished in the top-25 in both the air rifle prone and standing events. He was 15th at the 2015 world championships in the air rifle standing.

‘’After making the Paralympic team for London in 2012 and not finishing to my potential, I doubled my efforts and training for the next quad, determined to keep besting all of my previous results,’’ said Blessin.

In 2014, he was diagnosed with leukemia. The treatment took a huge toll on his family and Blessin stopped training for almost six months.

‘’Since beating that and getting back to health, I am meeting my goals and fully expect to hit my stride and place well in Rio,’’ said Blessin. ‘’My focus and determination have never been stronger.’’

Blessin is supported by head coach Rick Ward (Cardinal, Ont.).

“I have worked with Doug for six years and have seen first-hand how his strength of character, self-discipline and raw talent have carried him over many competitive hurdles and earn a spot in two events at the Paralympic Games,” said Ward. “Doug has had a difficult year leading in, but I expect him to rise to the occasion and be in the fight for medals in Rio.”

Blessin started his parasport career in wheelchair rugby after he sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident in December 1995. With the birth of his kids, life got busy, and Blessin temporarily retired from competition. When time permitted a return to competitive sports at age 37, he took up para-shooting.

Para-shooting is one of 22 summer sports on the Paralympic Games program and is practiced by athletes with various disabilities. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are September 7 to 18, 2016, with the para-shooting events set for September 8 to 14.

“Congratulations to Doug on his nomination to his second Paralympic Games team,’’ said Canada’s Chef de Mission Chantal Petitclerc. ‘’Para-shooting has one of the deepest fields at the Paralympic Games and Doug has consistently been very competitive internationally. It will be exciting to see how his experience pays off in Rio.’’

“Congratulations to Douglas Blessin on being named to Canada’s Paralympic team heading to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this summer,” said the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “On behalf of the Government of Canada and Canadians across the country, I wish you good luck as you take aim for the podium. Back at home, Team Canada—35 million people strong—is cheering for you as you inspire us all.”

Story and Photo from the Canadian Paralympic Committee |