FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 23, 2019, Fredericton, NB – New Brunswick has a record number of athletes named to Team Canada at the 2019 ParaPan American Games in Lima, Peru from August 23 – September 1. There will be 3 NB athletes wearing the maple leaf: Colin Higgins, wheelchair basketball; Bernard LaPointe, para-badminton; and Matt Kinnie, para-cycling. Canada will be sending approximately 152 athletes in 13 sports to the ParaPan American Games as it is a qualifier event for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

“We are so proud and excited for these athletes, they have worked extremely hard and are defined not only as New Brunswick’s best, but as Canada’s best” Sally Hutt, Executive Director of Parasport NB says. “These are high performance athletes and huge champions for New Brunswick, paving the way for athletes to follow their dreams and represent Canada,” says Hutt.

Colin Higgins of Rothesay, has been a member of the Senior Men’s National team since 2017. After an accident, Colin was diagnosed with dropped foot and began his wheelchair basketball career in 2014. He competed at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George and then went to earn a spot at the National Academy in Toronto. He now plays for Mizzou University in Missouri and plays in the Central Intercollegiate Division of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. At the ParaPan American games, Team Canada must finish top 3 in order to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics. Higgins is currently in Poland competing at the Poland International Tournament from July 23-27 as the teams last event before the ParaPan Ams.

There are only 7 athletes representing Canada in the debut sport of para-badminton. Bernard LaPointe of St-Léonard has made the Team Canada roster. LaPointe will compete at the Para-Badminton World Championships in Switzerland before heading to Lima. The ParaPan Am’s will be Bernard’s first major multisport games. He will be competing in doubles with Richard Peter of BC.  Lapointe will spend the remainder of the year in Asia competing for world ranking points in China, Japan, Thailand and Australia; only the top 8 in the world will qualify for Tokyo.

Matthew Kinnie of Riverview started to hand-cycle recreationally on gravel trails with his wife while she ran 13 years ago.  He went on to purchase a road hand-cycle in 2012 and has been competing ever since.  After making the Para-Cycling National Development standards in 2014, he was hungry for more.  In May 2019, Matt reached his goal of making the National High Performance Team standard making him eligible to Team Canada for the ParaPan Ams. This will be Kinnie’s first major games and he will be earning points for the Canadian team that will determine how many riders will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Parasport NB is the provincial sport organization for wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby; they are also the provincial multisport organization for the Paralympic sports. Parasport NB’s vision is for all New Brunswickers to have the opportunity to participate in positive and rewarding parasport experiences.

Sally Hutt, Executive Director