Paralympic Games: Okanagan Athlete Named to Canadian Wheelchair Curling Team – Okanagan

An athlete from the Okanagan will go for gold again at the upcoming 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in China.

On Thursday, the Canadian wheelchair curling team was announced and Ina Forrest of Spallumcheen, BC, was part of the five-person roster.

This will be Forrest’s fourth appearance at the Paralympic Games, having won gold in 2010 and 2014, and bronze in 2018.

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The Okanagan product is one of the most decorated wheelchair curlers in the world and was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 2016.

“The Paralympic Games are the goal you have set and are aiming for in the quadrennial,” said Forrest, a member of the Vernon Curling Club.

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“Being at the Paralympic Games means being part of the whole Canadian team, meeting and cheering on other Canadian athletes. Every experience is different, but each is utterly amazing.

The other four members are Mark Ideson of London, Ont., Collinda Joseph of Ottawa, Dennis Thiessen of Crystal City, Man., and John Thurston of Dunsford, Ont.


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Ideson, as captain, will lead Canada for the second consecutive Games. It will also be his third Paralympic appearance.

He, Forrest and Thiessen won gold in 2014 in Sochi and then bronze in PyeongChang in 2018.

“It’s such an honor to be selected for what will be my third Paralympic Games,” said Ideson. “To go there once was incredible, but to have the opportunity to wear the maple leaf again is incredible.

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“That’s really what it’s all about, an opportunity. An opportunity for athletes living with a disability to represent their country in the sport of their choice, and to be seen and seen as athletes striving to realize their dreams of singing their anthem on the podium.


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Rounding out the team are new Paralympians Thurston and Joseph. Both have represented Canada at three recent world championships, with Thurston often throwing critical last stones for the Canadians.

“It’s a dream come true,” Thurston said. “It’s a goal I’ve been working on for a long time.

“It’s such an honor to be able to represent Canada at the highest level. Having the opportunity to compete against the best in the world on the biggest stage with our incredibly talented team is something I’m incredibly excited for.

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Wheelchair curling joined the Paralympic Winter Games program in 2006 and since then Canada has won three gold medals (2006, 2010, 2014) and one bronze medal (2018).

The 2022 Paralympic Winter Games will take place from March 4-13. Canada is expected to send a team of approximately 50 athletes.

The wheelchair curling tournament in Beijing will take place from March 5-12, with the preliminary rounds taking place from March 5-10.


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