The Canadian Paralympic Committee is pleased to announce that boccia player Marco Dispaltro of St-Jerome, Que., has been named Team Canada’s flag bearer for the 2015 Parapan American Games Opening Ceremony.
“I feel very humbled and honoured to join the ranks of many great men and women who have been Canadian flag bearers,” said Dispaltro. “When I think of the journey that led me to this moment, I can’t help but think of all the people that were instrumental, in making this moment a reality.
With a strong background in wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby, Dispaltro exploded onto the boccia scene in May 2010 on the encouragement of head coach Mario Delisle. He held a #1 world ranking in his classification entering the 2015 season.
His achievements in boccia include his bronze with Josh Vandervies at the 2012 Paralympic Games and silver at both the World Cup and the Parapan American Games in 2011. The perfectly bilingual and eloquent 47-year-old can now add another feather to his cap.
“We are very excited to have Marco as a flag bearer our Parapan Am Games team,” said Chef de Mission Elisabeth Walker-Young. “Marco is a true ambassador of the Paralympic values and has been a role model to so many over the years. His spirit and competitiveness will resonate throughout the team”
Born with muscular dystrophy, Dispaltro has always been a fighter and brings that spirit wherever he goes. He’s a fully dedicated athlete who trains religiously, keeping meticulous training reports and striving for perfection.
“Led by Marco we are ready to amaze the country and show how tough our Parapan Am team athletes are,” said Gaetan Tardif, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “Every sport will have an impact on 2016 Paralympic Games qualification. Our athletes are primed to perform at their highest level.”
Similar to lawn bowls, boccia is a game of precision that demands intense focus. The primary objective is to throw leather balls as close to the jack as possible. There are four classifications, three of which are for players with cerebral palsy. It is practiced in more than 50 countries today. Boccia competition at the Parapan Ams will be held August 8-11 at the Abilities Centre in Whitby.
Canada has set a bold objective of a top 3 overall standing for the 2015 Parapan Am Games.
“We are confident that we can achieve our goal of finishing in the top-three in the overall medal standings at these Games,” add Walker-Young. “As we saw at the Pan Ams, we know all the para-athletes will perform in optimal conditions thanks the wonderful work by the TO2015 organizing committee and the unconditional support from Canadians across the nation.
“The Parapan Ams are the grand finale to a great summer of sports in Toronto.”
The Opening Ceremony will take place at the Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium at York University on Friday.
Story and Photo from the Canadian Paralympic Committee Website | Paralympic.ca