Strong crew heading to Paralympics

Ottawa's Josh Cassidy (Tony Caldwell/QMI Agency)

Ottawa's Josh Cassidy (Tony Caldwell/QMI Agency)

TIM BAINES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:01 AM ET

OTTAWA - Here's a look at athletes from the Ottawa area heading to London for the Paralympics, which start Wednesday:

BRANDON KING

Visually-impaired runner King won both the T12 100m and 200m at the Canadian track and field trials. He is the current Canadian record holder in the T12 200m. King moved from Brampton to Ottawa to live, train and work with guide runner Andrew Heffernan.

LEAH ROBINSON

At age 14, she was the youngest member of the Canadian team at the 2008 Paralympics. She finished 10th in the 200m and 11th in the 100m. Robinson, who has cerebral palsy, broke her own Canadian record for the T37 400m in qualifying for the Paralympics.

JOSH CASSIDY

Just weeks after his birth, Cassidy was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer in the spine and abdomen. He was given a very low chance of survival. In April, he set a Boston Marathon record — 1:18:25.

CAMILLE BERUBE

She won a silver in the 100m backstroke at the Para Pan Pacific meet. The Gatineau swimmer competes in the S8 category. She has a disability in both legs after she was diagnosed with cancer when she was born. She started swimming at age eight.

DAVID BLAIR

The youngest member of the rowing team’s mixed coxed four, his crew won the world championships in 2010. Born legally blind, Blair discovered rowing at the Ottawa Rowing Club, where national coach Jeff Dunbrack saw his potential.

TONY WALBY

For 16 years, he was a member of the national able-bodied judo team. Won national heavyweight title, retired at age 35, around the same time he was declared legally blind. Walby has genetic cone dystrophy ... his sight began deteriorating significantly in his early 20s.

BRIANNA JENNETT-McNEILL

The Russell High School grad started swimming at age seven at the Russell Barracuda Club. In her first year, she was named the club’s most improved swimmer.

JODY SCHLOSS

Schloss, who trains at Swan Manor Stables in Oxford Mills, is a Grade 1 rider. Her competitive Para-dressage career began in her mid-20s after a car accident in Central America left her in a coma.

JILL MACSWEEN

She started playing goalball in 2009 and quickly rose to the elite level in 2010. Her grandfather inspired her to get involved in goalball. She has earned the Courage Canada Scholarship.

WHITNEY BOGART

She first got involved in goalball in 2001 when she was 15. Born with albinism, Bogart won the gold medal at the 2011 IBSA World Championships and Games, which qualified the team for this year’s Paralympics.

AMY KNEEBONE

She started competing at the elite level in 2005 after taking up the sport of goalball just one year earlier at age 13. Kneebone represented Canada at the 2008 Paralympics, where the team placed fifth.

CURTIS THOM

In his second Paralympics, Thom won the 100m, 200m and 400m races at the 2012 Canadian track and field trials. He recently moved here from Mississauga to train with his coach Bob Schrader on a full-time basis.

JASON DUNKERLEY

He was born blind and began running in elementary school. With guide Greg Dailey, he raced to a silver medal in 2000, a silver in Athens in 2004 and a bronze in Beijing in 2008. In London, he will be guided by Joshua Karanja.

JON DUNKERLEY

He was born blind and focused mainly on swimming and wrestling before turning to running in 2006 when he moved to Ottawa and was paired with guide runner Sean Young. He competed at the 2008 Paralympics, finishing seventh in the 400m.

CASSIE ORGELES

She began playing goalball at the age of seven. She was born with optic nerve hypoplasia and is legally blind. She has received the Wayne Gretzky Award for Sportsmanship.

RACHAEL BURROWS

Born with cerebral palsy, she began wheelchair racing when she was 10, and then advanced to international racing at age 16.

tim.baines@sunmedia.ca


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