Walker-Young aims for top-three at Parapan Ams

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OTTAWA – Former Canadian national team Para-swimmer Elisabeth Walker-Young, named Canada’s Chef de Mission this week for the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto, says the team’s goal will be a top-three finish in the overall medal standings.

‘’We set our standards high,’’ said Walker-Young, who set several world records and won six medals at four Paralympics in her competitive career.

‘’This will be the first time the Parapan Ams are a qualifier for Paralympics (a year later in Rio) so that means the other countries as well will bring their A game and best athletes.’’

Swimming is traditionally a major medal producer for Canada at both the Paralympic and Parapan Am Games. At London 2012, Canadian swimmers took home 16 medals including four gold for more than half of the entire team’s podium finishes.

At the 2011 Parapan Ams in Guadalajara, Canada was eighth overall in the medal count with 63 medals, 17 coming from the pool.

‘’I couldn’t be happier to have Elisabeth leading the largest Parapan Am Canadian Team ever,” said Gaétan Tardif, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “She is a respected sports administrator and is uniquely suited to this leadership role.”

Walker-Young lives in North Vancouver and is the educational programs manager for Curl B.C. She was on the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Olympic and Paralympic organizing committees and assistant Chef de Mission in London.

‘’I feel like I have it in me to lead the Canadian team,’’ she said. ‘’And I can’t wait to bring that athlete perspective to it all. We’re looking forward to building a rapport with the fans and to have them out cheering the athletes. There’s nothing better than racing and showing off your sport to a full house.’’

The 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto are scheduled for August 7-15. More than 1,600 athletes from 28 countries are scheduled to compete in 15 sports.

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