Langley City paralympian Danielle Ellis is off to Peru next month to represent Canada.
The 27-year-old athlete is one of 12 women and 11 men in sitting volleyball who will represent this country at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games. She’s the team captain.
“I’m so grateful to be a part of Team Canada and so proud of the strong foundation of players we’ve built over the last few years,” Ellis shared.
“I’m excited to see us taking a strong 12 to the Games this summer in Lima, and I know the experience we will have playing against top teams in the world, with the pressure of fighting for a spot in Tokyo, is just what we need to keep our team on the rise,” she added.
The roster was announced this week by the Canadian paralympic committee and Volleyball Canada, with Ellis making the cut.
The Canadian women’s team is currently ranked No. 6 in the world and No. 3 in the Americas.
At last year’s world championships, the squad was seventh overall.
Four years ago at Toronto 2015, which was the first Parapan Am Games to include a women’s division in the sport, Canada won a bronze medal. This earned them a spot at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, where they made history by becoming the first Canadians to ever compete at the Paralympics in sitting volleyball.
Eight members of the Rio 2016 team, which finished in seventh place, are returning to compete in Lima.
Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Canada is ranked No. 16 in the world and No. 3 in the Americas region. The nation captured a bronze medal at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games, with five members of that team (Anderson, Buckingham, Hinchey, Learoyd, and Ward) set to compete in Lima as well.
Athletes with various physical impairments, such as amputations or spinal cord injuries, can compete in sitting volleyball. The sport uses the same rules as able-bodied volleyball with a few modifications including a smaller court and lower net, and the players must always remain seated.
The Canadian women, helmed by head coach Nicole Ban, will compete against Brazil, Peru, and U.S.A. Men’s head coach Jeff Smith will lead Canada into play opposite Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Brazil, and U.S.A. Round-robin action for the Canadians commences on Aug. 24, with the semifinals taking place Aug. 27, and medal rounds on Aug. 28.
Lima 2019 is a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The men will qualify if they finish first, while the women will earn a spot if they finish first or second behind the United States (who has already qualified for Tokyo).
The Lima 2019 Parapan American Games will take place Aug. 23 to Sept. 1 in Peru and will surpass Toronto 2015 as the largest Parapan Am Games ever with a record 1,850 athletes set to participate.
Canada is expecting to send a team of approximately 152 athletes and competition partners in 13 sports.
The Canadian paralympic committee will announce the official full team heading to the Games later this month.