The top 24 events to see at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto by calendar date
For nine days, 1,600 para-athletes will be in Toronto to compete in the Parapan Am Games. We've had a nice break from sports over the last week, but now it's back, and the dilemma continues: with 15 sports running almost every single day, which ones should you tune in to?
Here are my top picks for the top events to see at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto by calendar date.
This marks the first of two medal events for road cycling. During the last Parapan Am Games in Guadalajara, Canada took home three gold medals, two silver, and four bronze medals. Their biggest competition will be the United States, who game first overall in gold medals, and Colombia.
Good news for swim fans: these events will be taking place every day of the Parapan Am Games. Today will feature the women's and men's freestyle and backstroke. Brazil will be the team to beat this year. Their team includes Andre Brasil, a 10-medal Paralympic athlete, and Daniel Dias, who has been compared to Olympian Michael Phelps for his 11-gold medal win at the 2011 Parapan Ams.
This will be the first medal round for powerlifting--women's Up to 41kg, 25kg, and 50kg, and men's up to 49kg and 54kg. Mexico, Colombia, and Cuba are expected to do well.
Canada is expected to do well in this two-day event. Two-time world champion Kevin Evans is aiming for a repeat performance after his gold-medal win in 2011 and Karen Van Nest, who is relatively new to the sport, promises to be a serious contender.
Canada will face the United States in their second preliminary game of the competition at 11 a.m. For those unfamiliar with football-7, it just means that only seven players (including the goalkeeper) are allowed on the field at once. The game is played on a reduced field and there are no throw-ins or offside rule.
In their first preliminary round, Canada will play against Colombia. Even though this is team Canada's Parapan Am Games debut, they are considered serious contenders. During the London 2012 Paralympic games, the team took home the silver medal.
Canada is expected to do well during this two-day event. During the 2011 Parapan Am Games, they came in second in the medal counts with three golds and one silver. Their biggest competition will be the United States, who came in first during the previous games.
The men's and women's singles semi-finals and finals will be held today. Brazil is predicted to dominate the sport for another year--in 2011, the team brought home 12 gold medals.
Just like the Pan Am Games, the athletic events are quite popular. Athletes will participate in a variety of sporting events, including long jump, 5000m, shot put, discus throw, and the100m. Keep an eye out for Josh Cassidy, the Canadian record holder in the 1,500, 5,000 and 1,000-metre and marathon.
Today is the medal round of this event. One of the lesser-known sports, Boccia is similar to curling/bocce. Athletes propel balls and try to get them as close as they can to the white target. Canada won two gold medals during the 2011 Guadalajara and are hoping for a repeat performance.
Both the men's and women's Canadian teams will be playing today. This is the first time the women's sitting volleyball team will be competing since the 2011 games, where they won third place.
Canada is predicted to do very well in this event. The women's team won the 2014 World Championship in Toronto and the men's team won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Keep an eye out for Janet McLachlan, who was named Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association's 2014 Female Athlete of the Year.
The first of the medal rounds begins today for the women's -48kg and -52kg, as well as the men's -60kg and 66kg. The last Parapan Am Games saw Cuba finish with five gold medals. Brazil and Mexico are also serious contenders.
This will be the last day of the preliminary round robins. Canada will be facing Brazil and the United States in the afternoon. This sport is for athletes with visual impairments--athletes have to roll the ball, which has a bell in it, into the opposition's goal.
Today is the semi-finals and finals of shot put, long jump, 200m, javelin throw, and the men's 1500m. Keep an eye out for American Jarryd Wallace in the 200m sprint. Wallace won gold at the 2011 Parapan Am Games and currently holds the world record at 22 seconds.
The finals of the freestyle 100m, the butterfly, backstroke, and the freestyle relay. Events will be held from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Canadian Paralympian BenoĂŽt Huot may just be a match for the Brazilian team. He won 19 medals over the last four Paralympic Games.
This is the first day of the medal rounds, specifically the finals of the men's and women's doubles. The United States and Argentina typically dominate this event. Keep an eye out for 19-year-old Gustavo Fernandez from Argentina, who is expected to be a top contender at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The final classification rounds will happen in the morning and then the women's semi-final games will happen around 6 p.m at the Ryerson Athletic Centre. Team Canada is hoping to make it to the finals and beat their 2011 Parapan Am Game record--the women took silver while the men won bronze.
The bronze, gold, and 5th/6th place games will all be taking place today. The men's team will be trying to beat their record from the last Parapan Am Games, when they won a bronze medal.
This will be the final day of the rugby sporting events. Chances are the Canadian team will be competing in either the bronze and gold medal games. They won a silver in both the 2014 World Championships and 2012 Paralympic Games. Not to mention their team leader, Zak Madell, is widely considered as one of the best wheelchair rugby players in the world.
It will also be the last medal round for the athletic events such as the Javelin throw, 400m, 1500m, long jump, and shot put. The men's final 4x100m Relay, one of the more popular of the track and field events, will also be taking place this evening around 8 o'clock.
After six days of competition, teams will finally compete in the bronze and gold medal games. Canada hopes to be one of those winners.
By the early afternoon, the competition will be over--the gold, silver, and bronze medalists will have been announced. As long as both the men's and women's teams stay strong, it's predicted that Canada will be among those to claim a medal.
The ceremonies will be taking place at Nathan Phillips Square and promises to be quite the event. All of the music has been organized by Live Nation Entertainment. During the presentation, Canada will pass the torch on to Lima, Peru, who will be hosting the Parapan Am Games in 2019. This is a non-ticketed event, so head to Nathan Phillips Square a bit early to ensure a good view of the show.
What did I miss? Add your Parapan Am Games picks to the comments.
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