Louise Hodgson-Jones

The Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE), Victoria, BC is hosting the Canadian National Wheelchair Rugby team in a month-long camp.

Twelve members of the team – including five from British Columbia – are attending the camp which runs from February 7 – 27 at the high-performance facility, based at the Camosun College Interurban campus.

The camp will be a crucial test for the 12 members of the team as they contend for spots on the Paralympics team. The Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby team will be selected on April 30, and the Paralympics take place in London from August 29 – September 9.

High Performance Director Andy Van Neutegem, a Camosun College faculty member, devised the camp program, which includes weight training, pool sessions, and high intensity practice sessions. “We have an experienced team: four of them have Paralympic experience, but we also have players coming through as young as 17.”

The five team members from B.C. are Ian Chan and Travis Murao from Richmond, Garett Hickling from Mica Creek, Trevor Hirschfield, originally from Parksville and who now resides in Richmond, and Fabien Lavoie from Vancouver.

A highlight of the camp will be the Red and Black game on Saturday February 11 at Camosun College. “This event is organized by Camosun students enrolled in the College’s Centre for Sport and Education (CSEE). In addition to the rugby Red and Black game there will be a Camosun Chargers Volleyball match, a silent auction, promotions, food and refreshment. It’s a great event and one that demonstrates the unique partnership between Camosun, PISE and the national team,” explains Van Neutegem.

“As a proud partner of the Paralympic movement PISE is thrilled to host the Canadian National Wheelchair Team,” said Andrea Carey, Director of Operations and Community Engagement, PISE. “We recognize what a medal threat the team will be, and hope that their preparation at PISE will help them reach the podium”

Canada is a Bronze medalist in Wheelchair Rugby with their biggest threat coming from United States and Australia, according to Van Neutegem. “Great Britain, Sweden and Japan are also strong so we have six good medal contenders.” For more information on Wheelchair Rugby go to www.cwsa.ca.