Japan's national wheelchair basketball team warm up on the court during a grand opening ceremony of the Ariake Arena, a venue for wheelchair basketball during the 2020 Paralympic Games, in Tokyo, Feb. 2, 2020. Ottawa has been named host city for the 2026 world men's and women's wheelchair basketball championships. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jae C. Hong

Ottawa to host 2026 world wheelchair basketball championships

Ottawa to host 2026 world wheelchair basketball championships

Ottawa has been named host city for the 2026 world men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball championships.

Sixteen men’s teams and a dozen women’s international squads will compete for world titles over 11 days at Lansdowne Park, Aberdeen Pavilion, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.

Canadian Senator Chantal Petitclerc, winner of 14 wheelchair racing Paralympic gold medals, is honorary chair of the tournament.

“Beyond the field of play, this event is about so much more than sport,” Petitclerc said Thursday in a statement.

“Our vision is to host a transformational event that empowers social change by moving people to feel, think and act differently towards wheelchair basketball and people with disabilities.”

Thursday’s announcement coincided with International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The championship is held every four years. Canada will host a combined men’s and women’s world wheelchair championship for the first time.

The 2014 women’s tournament was held in Toronto, where Canada claimed gold. Edmonton was the site of the men’s event in 1994.

“I have personally experienced the thrill of representing Canada and winning a gold medal on home soil,” Canadian women’s team player Cindy Ouellet said.

“As an athlete, there is no greater honour than competing at home in front of your family, friends and fellow Canadians.”

Canadian teams are contenders for gold. The women have won five gold and two bronze medals in the 30-year history of the tournament.

Canada’s men have reached the podium six times and took the title in 2006.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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