Tennis Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced Monday that Philippe Bédard (Bromont, Que.) has been officially nominated to compete for Canada in wheelchair tennis at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in September.
“This is an amazing achievement,” Bédard said. “I’ve worked extremely hard for this and now that it’s official, I couldn’t be prouder. I will represent Canada this summer in Rio with the determination and the intensity that got me there. And I’ll be smiling the whole way.”
This will be the second Paralympic Games for the 35-year-old, who also competed in London 2012 and reached the second round. He is currently ranked world No. 43 and has won three ITF titles this year in Puerto Rico, Niagara Falls, and Windsor.
Last season, Bédard captured Canada’s historic first-ever wheelchair tennis medal alongside Joel Dembe, winning bronze in men’s doubles at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games.
“A huge congratulations to Philippe for qualifying for his second Paralympic Games,” said Kelly Murumets, president and CEO, Tennis Canada. “We are so wildly proud of Philippe and everything he has accomplished. He could not be more deserving of this honour. We know he will represent Canada well and be an excellent ambassador for both our sport and our country in Rio. Good luck, and we will be cheering you on loudly!”
Wheelchair tennis at Rio 2016 will feature six events – men’s, women’s, and quad singles and doubles. Bédard will compete alongside 51 other athletes in the men’s singles competition. To qualify for Rio, he was the recipient of one of 12 International Tennis Federation Bipartite Commission Invitation places for the men’s singles draw, awarded by the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Committee and the International Paralympic Committee.
“Philippe Bédard continues to be a trailblazer for Canada in wheelchair tennis,” said Canada’s Chef de Mission Chantal Petitclerc. ”He made history last summer when he and Joel Dembe won Canada’s first ever major Games medal in the sport at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games. And his results so far in 2016 show he is ready to raise the bar again at the Paralympic Games.”
“Congratulations to Philippe Bédard who has earned a spot on the Canadian Paralympic Team headed to Rio this summer,” said the Honorable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “I know that Philippe will give his all for the Maple Leaf as he pushes for a peak performance in a few short months. All Canadians are behind you.”
Philippe Bédard will be supported in his preparations for Rio by coach Christian Gingras (Quebec City, Que.).