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Record of Five Para Athletes from New Brunswick Set to Compete at the Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile

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Fredericton, New Brunswick - November 8th 2023 - Parasport New Brunswick is thrilled to announce the participation of a record number of para athletes from New Brunswick competing in the upcoming Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile. Five athletes, who have overcome numerous challenges and adversities, have earned a spot to represent their province and their country on the international stage as a member of Team Canada.

The Parapan Am Games, scheduled to take place in Santiago, Chile, from Friday November 17th to Sunday November 26th, will showcase the athletic prowess of para athletes from across the Americas. Our talented para athletes from New Brunswick have been selected by Team Canada to compete in a variety of disciplines.

Meet NB’s Team Canada Para Athletes:

Jesse Canney, Fredericton, NB, 27 Years Old, Para Swimming

Jesse Canney, who lives with autism, started swimming at six years old and joined the Special Olympics when he was 11. In 2018, Canney won Male Athlete of the Year for Special Olympics Canada and Special Olympics New Brunswick. He also was the first Special Olympian to win Sport New Brunswick’s male athlete of the year in 2019. In 2022, Jesse became Team New Brunswick’s most decorated Canada Games athlete with four medals that year in addition to his three in 2017. At the 2023 World Games for Special Olympians, Canney collected three gold medals.

Alexandre Hayward, Quispamsis, NB, 26 Years Old, Para Cycling

Alex Hayward broke his neck in 2012 at age 16 in a AAA hockey game. While he can use his arms and legs, all four of his limbs are impaired. Alex first played wheelchair basketball on Team NB at the Canada Games and the u23 Junior National Team before turning to para cycling. In 2022, Hayward won the time trial at a road World Cup event and finished fifth (road race) and sixth (time trial) at the road world championships. In 2023, Alex finished 6th in both the road race and the time trial at the road world championships.


Colin Higgins, PLY, Rothesay, NB, 32 Years Old, Wheelchair Basketball

At age 22, Colin Higgins had an injury that severed his peroneal nerve, causing “drop foot”. Colin started playing wheelchair basketball in 2014 and has since only kept rising in this sport. In 2015, he represented Team NB at the Canada Games. Higgins kept progressing in 2016 where he earned a spot at the National Academy and in 2017, a spot on the Senior Men’s National Team. He then competed at the 2018 World Championships (12th place), won a silver medal at the 2019 Parapan Am Games, 2021 Paralympic Games (8th place) and 2023 World Championships (6th).

Desiree Isaac-Pictou, Eel River Bar, NB, 23 Years Old, Wheelchair Basketball

Desiree Isaac-Pictou was injured during an incident in 2020 that resulted in multiple fractures and two leg amputations. Desiree was introduced to wheelchair basketball as part of her rehabilitation and she has been a rising star in the sport of wheelchair basketball ever since. In 2023, she competed at the Canada Games for Team NB and Team Canada at the women’s U25 World Championships (6th).

Bernard Lapointe, St-Léonard, NB, 39 Years Old, Para Badminton

A little more than a decade ago, Bernard Lapointe was injured in an unfortunate ATV accident which left him an incomplete paraplegic. This however didn’t keep him from continuing to strive for excellence on the playing field. Bernard played wheelchair tennis before changing his type of racquet to play para badminton. Lapointe earned multiple medals at the Parapan Am Championships from 2016 to 2018 and a bronze medal in men’s doubles with Richard Peter at the 2019 Parapan Am Games in Lima, Peru. Bernard is looking forward to competing at the Parapan Am Games in Chile as he missed the entire 2022 season due to recovering from a shoulder surgery.

"Parasport New Brunswick is proud to support these incredible athletes from New Brunswick as they embark on their journey to the Parapan Am Games. Their unwavering dedication to their respective sports is a testament to their amazing talent on the field of play. We are confident that they will excel on the international stage and their results will inspire others to pursue their dreams, regardless of any obstacles they may face." - Simon Richard, PLY, Program Manager at Parasport NB

The Parapan Am Games provide a platform for para athletes to compete at the highest level, and for some, qualify for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games. "Super exciting. It's always an honor to put on the jersey, and it will be fun to play some pressure packed games as this is our qualifier for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Having five athletes in Santiago is amazing. Hopefully it is able to reach the masses and inspire the next generation of athletes." - Colin Higgins, PLY, Wheelchair Basketball Athlete and Parasport NB board member.

Stay tuned for updates on our para athletes as they prepare and perform at the 2023 Parapan Am Games. Follow us, ParasportNB on social media to follow these incredible journeys and show your support.

For media inquiries and more information, please contact:

Simon Richard, (506) 588-3386

Parasport NB is a leader in providing and facilitating safe and supportive programs, reducing barriers to participation, and integrating all New Brunswickers in the broader parasport community. They are also the governing body for wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, goalball, and boccia, and a supporter of the delivery for all sports in the Paralympic movement.

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