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Former Humboldt Bronco Jacob Wasserman named to Canadian Paralympic rowing team

Former Humboldt Broncos goaltender Jacob Wasserman has been named to Canada’s Paralympic team and will compete in rowing this summer in Paris.

Wasserman was among 13 survivors of a crash that killed 16 on April 6, 2018.

The 24-year-old was paralyzed from the navel down when a semi-trailer truck drove through a stop sign and collided with the Broncos’ team bus near Tisdale, Sask.

The Broncos were en route to a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game.

Wasserman won a national rowing title in the men’s Men’s PR1 single category in 2023.

In that classification, athletes row with their arms and shoulders only and strapping is used around their midsection to provide support and stability in the boat.

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Wasserman’s silver medal at a continental regatta in Rio de Janeiro in March qualified a Canadian boat for the Paralympic Games.

He was the leading candidate to fill that shell, and Rowing Canada announced Thursday he will make his Paralympic debut in Paris.

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“It feels like a bit of a dream,” Wasserman said in a statement. “My whole life I have wanted to be a professional athlete and compete against the best in the world.

“I’m extremely excited to have this opportunity to represent Canada.”

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The Paralympic Games run Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, after the Olympic Games.

About 140 Canadians will compete in the Paralympic Games.

Para rowing runs Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 at Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium in Paris, with heats, repechages and finals.

Wasserman tried adaptive water-skiing and para hockey before he took on rowing.

“I’m very proud of how far Jacob has come along on his rowing journey,” said Rowing Canada’s high-performance director, Adam Parfitt.

“Each athlete has their own unique journey, and we applaud Jacob for his commitment and dedication to achieving his own success in Paris and beyond. The whole rowing community and nation is behind him.”

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Wasserman was among the dozen Canadians announced Thursday who will row in Paris.

The defending champion women’s eight and women’s lightweight double sculls duo Jenny Casson of Kingston, Ont., and Jill Moffatt of Bethany, Ont., will compete in Olympic rowing.

Coxswain Kristen Kit of St. Catharines, Ont., Calgary’s Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski, Toronto’s Sydney Payne and Avalon Wasteneys of Campbell River, B.C., are the returning athletes from the victorious eights team in Tokyo in 2021.

“Returning for my second Olympic Games makes me feel incredibly grateful for all the amazing support and hard work that has brought us to this point,” Wasteneys said.

“Heading into Paris, I’m really looking forward to witnessing a full Olympic experience, especially after the more limited Tokyo Olympic Games experience during the global pandemic.”

Abby Dent of Kenora, Ont., Victoria’s Caileigh Filmer, Maya Meschkuleit of Mississauga, Ont., Jessica Sevick of Strathmore, Alta., and Kristina Walker of Wolfe Island, Ont., round out the team.

The women’s lightweight double and eights qualified for Paris at the 2023 world championship in Belgrade, Serbia, finishing fourth and fifth respectively.

The Olympic Games open July 26 and close Aug. 11. Rowing is July 27 to Aug. 3.

&© 2024 The Canadian Press

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