Athletics Canada announces 24-member Paralympic track and field team

 Michelle Stilwell won gold in the 200-metre T52 Final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in the Olympic Stadium. 

Canada’s para-athletics lineup for the 2016 Summer Paralympics has plenty of new faces.

Fifteen members of Canada’s 24-athlete track and field delegation heading to Rio in late August are making their Games debut in early September. Just six of the 15 men, and three of the nine ladies named to this team competed at the London 2012 Games.

Headlining the returnees is T53 wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos (Dorval, Que.), T52 wheelchair racer Michelle Stilwell (Parksville, B.C.), T11 5000-metre runner Jason Dunkerley (Ottawa, Ont.) and T54 wheelchair racer Diane Roy (Lac des Aigles, Que.)

T53 wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos is expected to contend for multiple gold medals.

Lakatos, 36,  is expected to contend for multiple gold medals due to his international domination of short-distance and middle-distance wheelchair racing  following London.


He is the reigning International Paralympic Committee World Champion for the 100-metre, 200-metre and 800-metre distances, and he won three gold medals at the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto (100-metres, 400-metres and 800-metres). He is making his fourth appearance at the Paralympic Games. In 2012, he captured silver medals in the 200, 400 and 800-metre events.

“I can’t wait for Rio,” said Lakatos. “These are my fourth Paralympic Games, and each one has been so different. Athens was a blur, Beijing was bitter disappointment and London was my first taste of the podium. This will be the first time I head in as a favourite.”

Stilwell, 42, was Canada’s lone track and field gold medalist four years ago. She captured the top podium position in the T52 wheelchair 200-metre race and earned runner-up status in the 100-metre race. The MLA for the B.C. government enters Rio ranked first in the world for her classification.

Jason Dunkerley and his guide Joshua Karanja receive the silver medal in the men’s 5000-metre T11 final at the London Paralympic Games in the Olympic Stadium.

Dunkerley, 38, is appearing at his fifth Paralympic Games. The long-distance runner and his guide Josh Karanja teamed up to win silver in the T11 5000-metre and bronze in the 1500-metre run. The five-time Paralympic medalist is looking to complete some unfinished business in Brazil as he has never won a gold medal in his decorated career. Perhaps being in Rio will bring good fortune to Dunkerley as he won two gold medals (800-metre and 1500-metre races) at the 2007 Parapan Ams in this major Brazilian city.

Check out Report on Rio’s feature story about Dunkerley’s dominant Parapan Ams performance.

Roy, 45, is appearing at the Summer Paralympics for an incredible sixth time. She will be seeking a return to podium form after missing a top-three spot in each of her four T54 wheelchair races in London. Roy, nicknamed the “Warhorse”, has achieved success at short, medium and long distances. At Beijing, she won silver in the 5000-metre showdown, and bronze in the 400-metre and 800-metre race.

A newcomer expected to make noise is Guillaume Ouellet (Victoriaville, Que.), 29, as he is the reigning world champion in the T13 5000-metre race and he won gold in the 1500 at the Parapan Ams. Ouellet emerged onto the international scene in 2013 with an impressive fourth place 1500-metre showing at the world championships.

– Pamela LeJean is the top ranked women’s F53 shot put thrower in the world.

Pamela LeJean (Cape Breton, N.S.), 31, is another rookie on this Canadian squad that is expected to challenge for first place in Rio  as she occupies the top spot in the F53 shot put world rankings for women. The former wheelchair basketball player attained a shot put gold medal at the Parapan Ams, and silver at the world championships.


The para-athletics competition will be jointly staged at Fort Copacabana and Olympic stadium from Sept. 8 to 18.

The complete 24-athlete track and field Canadian Paralympic Team is as follows:

Name Hometown Class Event(s) Coach(es)
*Josh Cassidy Port Elgin, ON T54 800m/1500m/5000m Jenny Archer/Amanda Fader
Mitchell Chase Pickering, ON T38 1500m Craig Blackman
Shayne Dobson Campbellton, NB T37 1500m Jean-Marc Dorion / Steve LeBlanc
*Jason Dunkerley Ottawa, ON T11 1500m Ian Clark
*Alex Dupont Clarenceville, QC T54 400m/800m/1500m/4x400m Rick Reelie
*Josh Karanja Ottawa, ON Guide runner for Jason Dunkerley Ian Clark
*Brent Lakatos Dorval, QC T53 100m/400m/800m/4x400m
Jean-Philippe Maranda Ste-Aurélie, QC T53 100m/400m/800m/4x400m Rick Reelie
*Alister McQueen Calgary, AB F44 Javelin Kim Cousins
Guillaume Ouellet Victoriaville, QC T13 1500m/5000m Félix-Antoine Lapointe
Austin Smeenk Oakville, ON T34 100m/800m Ken Thom
Tristan Smyth Maple Ridge, BC T54 1500m/4x400m Kelly Smith
Liam Stanley Victoria, BC T37 1500m Bruce Deacon
Kevin Strybosch London, ON F37 Discus John Allan
*Curtis Thom Mississauga, ON T54 400m/4x400m Bob Schrader
Female athletes
Jenn Brown Calgary, AB F38 Discus Kim Cousins
*Ilana Dupont Saskatoon, SK T53 100m/400m/800m Rick Reelie
Eva Fejes Salt Spring Island, BC Sport Assistant for Ness Murby
Renée Foessel Orangenville, ON F38 Discus Ken Hall
Pamela Le Jean Cape Breton, NS F53 Shot put Ueli Albert
Ness Murby Salt Spring Island, BC F11 Discus Sheldan Gmitroski
Marissa Papaconstantinou Toronto, ON T44 100m/200m Geoff Standen
*Diane Roy Sherbrooke, QC T54 400m/800m/1500m/5000m Jean Laroche
*Michelle Stilwell Parksville, BC T52 100m/400m Peter Lawless

 *Denotes previous Paralympic Games experience

Photos courtesy of Canadian Paralympic Commitee

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