UA-74833448-1 Wheel Chair Champions – Sportswave.ca
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Wheel Chair Champions

Photo Credit Curl BC

One can actually say that curling is for those who are nimble and able to adjust to the various curling squats and/or bends required to get in the house.

While many watch the able bodied curler who can easily adjust not only moves but be able to read the ice somewhat like reading a chess match.

This past weekend South Delta’s Tunnel Town’s Team MacDonald rink pulled off an impressive win at the Cloverdale Curling Club capturing the 2020 BC Wheelchair Curling Championship.

The MacDonald rink took out the reigning champion’s Team Neighbour on route to the Gold Medal. 

If you were at the club you would have noticed that the Neighbour team has two Gold Medal winning Paralympians on the roster which includes Richmond’s Darryl Neighbour and Armstrong BC\s Ina Forrest.

MacDonald mentioned that “he felt great about the win and was looking forward to nationals and I had a great team behind me. We shook things up and tried a few different players and it was a great team effort.”

All of the games were fairly tight, but his team somehow forced Team Neighbour into a difficult shot into the 10th end.

The win now see’s The Macdonald rink head east over the week of April 25th to 30th for the National Championships at the Club de curling de Boucherville in Boucherville, Que.

It may have taken some time, but Curling Canada recently released a new video which will showcase the skills offered by these impressive curlers.

The video, which was produced by Curling Canada’s marketing agency and features two members of Curling Canada’s National Wheelchair Curlers. 

We hear that current member of the National team Dunsford Ontario’s namely Jon Thurston as well as Next Gen Winnipeg Athlete Carolyn Lindner are featured on the video.

Katherine Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of Curling Canada mentioned “We have wonderful athletes in our country who’ve overcome all sorts of adversity but remain focused firmly on the opportunities that lay before them, and they keep working hard to reach those goals,”

As if one comment isn’t enough we hear that Gerry Peckham, Curling Canada’s Director of High Performance mentioned “We have a solid pool of athletes striving to represent Canada on the international stage, and there’s nothing like healthy competition to add motivation for those athletes.” 

He continues “There are so many stories of athletes, such as Jon and Carolyn, who’ve found their way to wheelchair curling and have thrived through hard work and focus. They have an amazing story, and we want to tell more stories like theirs.”

Jon Thurston (35) recently helped Canada qualify for the 2020 World Wheelchair Curling Championship later this year in Wetzikon, Switzerland, as he was part of the team that won the World B pool qualifying event in Finland.

Photo Credit Curling Canada

Last year he (Thurston) competed in both the World Wheelchair Curling Championship and traveled to Norway to compete in the World Disabled Water ski Championships.

Sadly he was paralyzed from the waist down after a construction accident in 2008; but never really found wheelchair curling until 2012 and as they say “the rest is history.”

Caroline Lindner is a two-sport athlete who could, down the road, be the rare athlete who competes in both the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games.

She also competes in Archery and is a Canadian record-holder in the Senior Para Women’s recurve class.

2018 Wheelchair Medal Games

Lindner mentioned “Instead of being seen as an inspiration because of what I have had to overcome, I would rather be seen as an inspiration for the strength I have developed and my determination to work towards the goals I have set for myself,

She was active in various sports from a young age but her life soon changed in 2013 when an overly aggressive illness resulted in her having both legs amputated below the knee.

Not letting an illness get her down and while shopping at Costco she bumped into Canadian Curling Hall of Fame member Dennis Thiessen and her career soared.

Her athletic skills translated nicely to the pebbled ice, and in 2017, she teamed with Thiessen to help Manitoba win the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship.

Lindner, who also won silver at the 2018 and 2019 wheelchair nationals, and plays in various wheelchair curling events throughout the season.

When you ask someone why they don’t compete they give various reasons, but when you look at a Paralympic Athlete, there is no such thing as “I can’t do that.”

Life lessons learned and by some the hard way, but having a strong will  pay’s off.