Shooter Doug Blessin nominated for selection to Team Canada for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
OTTAWA -The Shooting Federation of Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced today that Doug Blessin of Port Coquitlam, B.C. has been nominated for selection to Team Canada for this September’s Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
In Rio, Blessin will compete at his second Paralympic Games, shooting in the R4 (air rifle standing) and R5 (air rifle prone) events. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the 43-year-old para-shooter finished in the top-25 in both the air rifle prone and standing events. He was 15th at the 2015 world championships in the air rifle standing.
”After making the Paralympic team for London in 2012 and not finishing to my potential, I doubled my efforts and training for the next quad, determined to keep besting all of my previous results,” said Blessin.
In 2014, he was diagnosed with leukemia. The treatment took a huge toll on his family and Blessin stopped training for almost six months.
”Since beating that and getting back to health, I am meeting my goals and fully expect to hit my stride and place well in Rio,” said Blessin. ”My focus and determination have never been stronger.”
Blessin is supported by head coach Rick Ward (Cardinal, Ont.).
“I have worked with Doug for six years and have seen first-hand how his strength of character, self-discipline and raw talent have carried him over many competitive hurdles and earn a spot in two events at the Paralympic Games,” said Ward. “Doug has had a difficult year leading in, but I expect him to rise to the occasion and be in the fight for medals in Rio.”
Blessin started his parasport career in wheelchair rugby after he sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident in December 1995. With the birth of his kids, life got busy, and Blessin temporarily retired from competition. When time permitted a return to competitive sports at age 37, he took up para-shooting.
Para-shooting is one of 22 summer sports on the Paralympic Games program and is practiced by athletes with various disabilities. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are September 7 to 18, 2016, with the para-shooting events set for September 8 to 14.
“Congratulations to Doug on his nomination to his second Paralympic Games team,” said Canada’s Chef de Mission Chantal Petitclerc. ”Para-shooting has one of the deepest fields at the Paralympic Games and Doug has consistently been very competitive internationally. It will be exciting to see how his experience pays off in Rio.”
“Congratulations to Douglas Blessin on being named to Canada’s Paralympic team heading to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this summer,” said the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “On behalf of the Government of Canada and Canadians across the country, I wish you good luck as you take aim for the podium. Back at home, Team Canada-35 million people strong-is cheering for you as you inspire us all.”