OWSA Announces Team Ontario Roster for 2019 Canada Games
Wheelchair basketball athletes and staff selected to represent Ontario
(November 5, 2018 – Toronto, ON) The Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association (OWSA) is proud to formally announce the team selected to represent Ontario at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta.
Following a series of selection camps that look place between June – September, 2018, 12 of Ontario’s strongest and most skilled junior-age athletes were chosen to represent the province. The team will be led by an experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated coaching staff which includes Head Coach Kathy Ludwig, Assistant Coach Josh Davies, and Team Manager Rhiannon Davies. “I am truly honoured to be coaching these young athletes,” said Ludwig. “Watching them grow and develop over the past four years has been amazing! I can’t wait to see all their hard work pay off as they hit the court in Red Deer at Canada Winter Games 2019.”
The athletes named to Team Ontario are as follows:
Adel Akhmed (Toronto)
Sara Black (Toronto)
Vanessa Giancaterini (Woodbridge)
Zoë Hahn (Linwood)
Maninder Hothi (Brampton)*
Michael Kilonzo (Mississauga)*
Puisand Lai (Toronto)
Joanne Lee (Newmarket)
Aaron McDonald (Paris)*
Lee Melymick (Toronto)
Erik Robeznieks (Toronto)
Eric Voss (St. Marys)*
Alternates – Nick Hill (Ancaster), Natalie Robinson (Ilderton)
*denotes previous Canada Games experience
Team Ontario sees four returning players from the 2015 Canada Games squad in Maninder Hothi, Michael Kilonzo, Aaron McDonald, and Eric Voss. This will be the 3rd Canada Games experience for Voss, who made his Team Ontario debut at the 2011 Games in Halifax, NS at the age of 15.
“In my 11 years of playing wheelchair basketball, one of the highlights of my career would have to be playing at Canada Games. It is an incredible experience being at a multi-sport games and having all the athletes from your province cheering you on! We all compete for Ontario. I have grown as an athlete with my experiences participating in the Games and I am so proud to represent Ontario with this great team of athletes and coaching staff. Go Ontario!”
Rounding out the team is a strong and talented group of athletes who will all get to partake in their first Canada Games experience. These rookies have honed their skills over the past 3+ years to get to this moment. When asked about what it means to represent Ontario and compete in the Canada Games, newcomer Lee Melymick had this to say: “It feels incredible to be able to represent Ontario at my first Canada Games right after being fortunate enough to represent Canada in Hamburg for the World Championships.” Melymick, who made his Senior National Team debut this summer, has quickly risen to the high performance level since his introduction to the sport in 2015. “We didn’t win a medal in Germany, but at Canada Games we are coming for gold.”
Team Ontario is looking to land itself on the podium in 2019 and improve on their 5th place finish in Prince George, B.C. in 2015. “We have been training as a team regularly since June 2018 and have had many opportunities to play against local CWBL players in order to better prepare ourselves. Team Ontario is super excited to compete!” said Zoë Hahn, a member of both the Ontario Junior and Women’s provincial teams. The team placed 4th at the 2018 Junior National Championship last March.
Wheelchair basketball provincial teams are open to both male and female athletes, with and without physical disabilities, making the sport one the most inclusive in Canada. “Junior-age” wheelchair basketball players at the 2019 Games must be born in or after 1995 (24 years or younger). The wheelchair basketball competition is scheduled to take place during the first week of the Canada Games, from February 15-23, 2019 at the newly-built Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.
About the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association
The Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association (OWSA) is the provincial governing body for wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and wheelchair tennis in the province of Ontario. Our mission is to grow wheelchair sports opportunities across Ontario. We strive to create opportunities for athletes with physical disabilities to participate in any of our sports at recreational, competitive, and high performance levels.
About Team Ontario
Team Ontario comes together as a group of 350 athletes, coaches, managers, chaperones, technicians and mission staff from across the province to compete at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. The team will be represented in all sports competing in the Games. The Canada Games are an important component of our sport system, and a key event in the development of Ontario’s young athletes. The Canada Games provide athletes with an opportunity to compete in a multi-sport atmosphere and prepare them as the next generation of international competitors. Follow Team Ontario on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @GoTeamOntario.
About the Canada Games
The Canada Games is Canada’s largest amateur national multi-sport competition for young athletes. The Games are held every two years, alternating between winter and summer, and play a key role in the development of Canada’s future stars on the national and international stage.
The 2019 Canada Winter Games will be held from February 15 to March 3 in Red Deer, AB bringing together approximately 3600 athletes, coaches, and managers from every province and territory to compete in 19 sports. It will be the largest event ever hosted in Red Deer and central Alberta and one of the largest events to be hosted in Alberta in over three decades, since the 1988 Calgary Olympics.