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Wheelchair Basketball Canada launches groundbreaking national academy at UTSC

Wheelchair Basketball Canada launched a new groundbreaking high-performance training academy at UTSC. (Photo by Ken Jones)

The next generation of Canadian gold medallists will hone their skills at the world’s first full-time, year-round, daily training environment for high performance wheelchair basketball athletes, right here at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC).

Launched today, Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s National Academy is a groundbreaking new initiative designed to train the next generation of elite Canadian athletes in their pursuit of gold at future world championships and Paralympic Games, including the 2014 Women’s World Championship and the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto. The Academy is made possible by a group of partners including Wheelchair Basketball Canada, the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, the Government of Ontario, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, and UTSC.

Academy athletes, including UTSC student Gabby Roberts-Winter, will have access to optimized coaching, training and mentorship at a central location not previously available in Canada. Prior to the launch of the National Academy, the sport’s top Canadian athletes often looked to U. S. collegiate teams and semi-pro teams in Europe for their individual development.

“We really didn’t have a chance to train five days a week with the same group before,” says Roberts-Winter, a second year Psychology student. “UTSC is now providing us with an environment where we can improve our skills at a high level.”

Wheelchair Basketball Canada team members and executives celebrated the launch at UTSC together with the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), the Honourable Tracy MacCharles, MPP for Pickering-Scarborough East, Karen O’Neill, CEO of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and UTSC staff.

© University of Toronto Scarborough