OTTAWA, ONT) — Tennis Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee are pleased to announce the four-member wheelchair tennis team selected for nomination to represent Canada at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games from August 7-15.
The selected players are Joel Dembe of Toronto and Philippe Bédard of Bromont, Que. for the men and Yuka Chokyu and Mika Ishikawa, both of Vancouver, for the women. Both Dembe and Bédard were on the 2011 Parapan Am Games and 2012 Paralympic Games teams.
“Tennis Canada is excited to field a team of athletes with a fantastic mix of experience and depth for our home soil Parapan Am Games,” said Janet Petras, director of wheelchair tennis, Tennis Canada. “They are sure to vie for the podium and showcase the athleticism and dedication of our top athletes.”
Both Bedard and Dembe have achieved success this season, with Dembe winning a singles title in Sacramento and Bedard capturing a crown in Quito. Currently ranked world No. 47 and No. 48 respectively, they also teamed to win the Uberlandia Wheelchair Tennis Open in Brazil. Bedard is the reigning Canadian champion in both singles and doubles (alongside Dembe).
“It’s a great honour to be selected for the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games,” said Dembe, a two-time Canadian national singles champion. “I am happy to be nominated alongside my doubles partner, Philippe Bédard. It will be an amazing experience to compete in my home city of Toronto, and I hope to achieve some great results on the tennis court.”
Three-time Paralympian Chokyu is making a comeback. Currently ranked world No. 47, Chokyu has represented Canada multiple times on the world stage, and reached career-highs of world No. 6 in singles and No. 3 in doubles. Ishikawa, ranked No. 82 on the ITF women’s singles rankings, will be competing in her first major Games event after making many strides on the international circuit in both the women’s and quad divisions.
“I am delighted to have been nominated to play for Canada on home soil,” Ishikawa said. “I’m looking forward to facing the top-ranked North and South American players in Toronto.”
“Our wheelchair tennis team will be ready for its challenges at the Parapan American Games,” said Chef de Mission Elisabeth Walker-Young. “Their commitment to hard work and their passion will guarantee success.”
“Congratulations to the athletes who will make up the Canadian Wheelchair Tennis Team at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games. Along with the coaches, family and supporters who have encouraged you, I join all Canadians in wishing you the best as you compete on home soil during this Year of Sport in Canada,” said The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport).