Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Ottawa hosts Canadian women’s Wheelchair Basketball League national championship

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Athletes of all abilities took to the court this weekend to compete in the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League Championships at Collège La Cité in Ottawa.

The tournament offered a chance to showcase talent from across the country. Since its inception in 1990, Wheelchair Basketball Canada has championed this event, leaving a lasting legacy on and off the court, inspiring current, future and past Paralympians.

For Charlotte McElroy, wheelchair basketball is her passion.

“It’s given me a really a sense of belonging with so many different disabilities and people like me,” said McElroy, who was competing this weekend.

“Growing up and knowing that it’s not weird and it’s not bad to be disabled.”

Athletes of all ages and backgrounds participated in the event.

“It’s really helped me both in sport and out of sport. I mean, growing up in such a welcoming community with socially like-minded people has really helped me grow and become the person I am today,” she said.

Hard-hitting athletes showcased their talent at the gold medal game, where Quebec and British Columbia tipped off for the top title.

“Sport really saved me in a way. After cancer, it wasn’t easy,” said Cindy Ouelette, who played for Quebec in the gold medal game.

For Ouelette, it’s a time to shine after years of playing.

“Wheelchair basketball was introduced to me by my physio. I got cancer when I was 12, so then at 15 and 16 years old, I started playing,” said Ouelette.

With Ottawa as hosts, it’s a chance to prepare for a bigger event to come.

“We are hosting the World Championships in 2026 right here in Ottawa, so it’s massive for us as an organization to get local capacity to help us host that event in two and a half short years,” said Sean Liebich, program manager for the event.

Quebec won the tournament on Sunday, beating British Columbia 75-38.

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