The Canadian wheelchair basketball team rosters for the 2019 Parapan Am Games in Lima have been announced and a Victoria resident has made the men’s team for a second time.
Deion Green is excited to have the opportunity to represent Canada again. The 29-year-old athlete was born in Mississauga, Ont. and has lived in Victoria since he was a teen. Now, he spends most of his time training in Toronto.
Green has known he wanted to play basketball at this level since he was 10. He used to play stand-up basketball with his friends when he lived in Surrey but he says it became difficult when they got taller and he was playing from his wheelchair. In 2000, his dad heard about an open wheelchair basketball practice in Richmond and they dropped in to try it out.
“I fell in love on the spot,” he says passionately.
From there, he didn’t stop playing. He moved up the ranks and eventually earned a spot on the Canadian team. Now, he’ll be playing for his country again.
The camaraderie on the court is his favourite part.
“Battling with your brothers,” in the same uniform and knowing they’ve got your back no matter what is a great feeling, he says.
He played in the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto where they placed second. They went on to play in the Rio Olympics in 2016 but didn’t do well, he says.
The top three men’s teams in the 2019 Parapan Am Games will go to the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020. The Canadian team is projected to do well at the Parapan Am Games this year, he says.
“I can see us playing in the gold medal match in Lima.”
Green and the other team Canada athletes are leaving for Poland on the weekend for their last tournament before the Parapan Am Games, which take place from Aug. 23 to Sept. 1.
Three other players from B.C. also made the Canadian teams; Bo Hedges from Wonowon will join Green on the men’s team and Tara Llanes from North Vancouver and Kady Dandeneau from Pender Island will play for the Canadian women’s team.
“Wheelchair basketball is an amazing sport and this is an extremely high level of competition,” he says. “Check it out — it’s definitely worth the watch.”
Anyone interested in learning more or joining a team can contact the B.C. Wheelchair Sports Association or the B.C. Wheelchair Basketball Society. They can help you find a team, says Green.