Christine Gauthier photo: Canoe Kayak Canada
Canoe Kayak Canada to nominate two athletes to Team Canada for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
MONTREAL – Canoe Kayak Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced today that Christine Gauthier of Dorval, Que., and Erica Scarff of Toronto, Ont. will be nominated for selection to Team Canada as the sport of paracanoe makes its debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
“It’s very exciting for our paddlers to be going to the Paralympic Games for the first time,” said Canoe Kayak Canada’s paracanoe coach Marc Creamer. “Christine has been in the sport for many years and it’s great to see her now headed to a Paralympic Games. Erica is newer to the sport and she’s developed very quickly. Both have the talent to be in the medal mix.”
Christine Gauthier is a five-time paracanoe World Champion in the K1 200 metres. She started paracanoe as an outing with her sisters after suffering injuries during her military service. Gauthier was in the regular force field artillery for 10 years. While training on an obstacle course in 1989, she jumped into a deep hole and had a bad landing. The resulting injuries to her knees, hips, neck and back have required several surgeries so far.
Scarff, a 19-year-old below knee amputee, is an emerging star in the sport. She placed seventh and sixth at the 2015 and 2016 world championships. She was diagnosed with cancer at age 12 and participated in many sports as a teenager before choosing paracanoe.
“Congratulations to Christine and Erica,” said Canada’s Chef de Mission Chantal Petitclerc. “It’s very exciting to have paracanoe in the Paralympic Games family for the first time, so this will be an historic moment for our two paddlers.”
Paracanoe is one of two new sports (the other is para-triathlon) on the 22-sport Paralympic Games summer program. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are set for September 7 to 18, with the paracanoe events taking place September 14 and 15.
“I’m proud to see Canadian athletes taking part in an historic moment this summer as paracanoe makes its Paralympic Games debut in Rio,” said the Honorable Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “Because our country has such a cultural tie to the water, our paddlers will be representing the Maple Leaf with a little extra pride as part of Team Canada. I join all Canadians, and especially our young people on lakes and rivers across the country, in wishing our Paralympic athletes the very best as they push for the podium this summer in Rio.”
The athletes to be nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Team are as follows:
Christine Gauthier (Dorval, Que.)
Erica Scarff (Toronto, Ont.)
The nominated athletes will be supported by coach Marc Creamer (Pointe-Claire, Que.)