Five Canadians to watch at para worlds

Canada’s team of 24 athletes at the World Para Athletics Championships, July 14-23 in London, is a mixed group of familiar faces and newcomers. Here are five Canadian athletes to watch:

Liam Stanley, 800, 1,500 metres

The 20-year-old from Victoria was a standout soccer player who hoped to make his Paralympic debut in that sport. But when Canada’s soccer team didn’t qualify for the Rio Paralympics, Stanley, who has cerebral palsy, focused on middle distance running and last summer raced to silver in the 1,500 in an outstanding Paralympic debut.

Guillaume Ouellet, 1,500 and 5,000 metres

The 30-year-old from Victoriaville, Que., is the reigning world champion in the 5,000 metres, but narrowly missed the medal podium at last summer’s Rio Paralympics. Ouellet was diagnosed with degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, and took up track and field in college.

Alister McQueen, Javelin

The Calgary athlete captured his first Paralympic medal — a silver — last summer in Rio, and has his sights set on the podium in London. McQueen has represented Canada at the Paralympics and Parapan Am Games in sprinting as well. He had his left leg amputated when he was nine months old due to a congenital birth condition. He won a world title as a member of Canada’s standing amputee hockey team.

Diane Roy, 400 metres

The 46-year-old from Lac Des Aigles, Que., is one of Canada’s most celebrated Paralympic athletes. She made her Paralympic debut in 2004 in Athens, racing to two bronze medals. She went on to three medals at the Beijing Paralympics, and is a six-time world medallist. Roy lost the use of her legs in an all-terrain vehicle accident when she was 17.

Marissa Papaconstantinou, 200 metres

The 17-year-old from Toronto is a rising star on Canada’s para track team, finishing ninth in the 100 metres in her Paralympic debut last summer in Rio. Born without a right foot, Papaconstantinou was a goalie in Ontario’s top youth soccer league. She was fitted with a prosthetic running blade in Grade 7, and went on to set a Canadian record for her amputee class in the 100 in 2013, and the 200 in 2015.

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