SANTIAGO, Chile — North Bay wheelchair tennis player Rob Shaw has been named as one of the two Canadian athletes who will lead Canada into the Santiago 2023 ParaPan-Am Games as the team’s Opening Ceremony flag bearers, the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced Wednesday.
Shaw has been Canada’s leading wheelchair tennis player for more than half a decade. Currently ranked singles world No. 9 in the quad division (with a career-high of No. 6), he is the defending ParaPan-Am gold medallist, taking home the title at the Lima Games four years ago. The 33-year-old, who now lives in Kelowna, B.C., was the first Canadian tennis player – standing or wheelchair – to win a medal in singles at a multi-sport Games.
He owns 22 International Tennis Federation (ITF) singles and 22 ITF doubles titles in his career and made his Paralympic Games debut at Tokyo 2020.
“Still in a bit of shock after finding out I would be one of Canada’s flag bearers,” said Shaw in a release.
“It’s one of the greatest honours an athlete can be given and something you never think will happen to you. I can’t wait to mingle with all the incredible athletes, support them in their disciplines, and lead them into that arena as one unified team. It’s going to be an unforgettable experience.”
Shaw’s title defence begins November 21 following a first-round bye. He will also team up with Mitch McIntyre in the quad-doubles draw.
“We are just so thrilled to have Shelley Gautier and Rob Shaw represent Canada as flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony,” said Karolina Wisniewska, co-chef de mission, Santiago 2023 Canadian ParaPan-Am Team.
“They are such accomplished individuals, with Shelley’s longstanding success in Para-cycling to Rob making his mark in Canadian tennis. This is a well-deserved honour for them both, and I can’t wait to march behind them to open the Games.”
“Shelley and Rob are both incredible athletes with great track records on and off the field of play, and we’re so honoured to have them lead the team into the stadium,” said Josh Vander Vies, co-chef de mission.
“With Paralympic and ParaPan-Am experience, as well as plenty of success on their respective international circuits, their standout performances speak for themselves. Combined with their leadership and passion for growing their sports, they are remarkable ambassadors for Para sport. We are proud to call them Canada’s flag bearers.”
Canada is represented by 140 athletes at the ParaPan-Am Games, competing in 14 sports. The Games run November 17-26.