Paralympic High Performance Athlete Development Advisor appointed to boost Canada's medal standings at future Games

OTTAWA, Sept. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Paralympic Committee, in partnership with Own The Podium and Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jean-François Rapatel as the inaugural Paralympic High Performance Athlete Development Advisor, based in Victoria, B.C. at the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific.

The first position of its kind in the country, the role is designed to build on and enhance the current parasport system and ultimately boost Canada's medal standing at future Paralympic Games. Rapatel will work with targeted Paralympic sports on developing gold medal profiles to identify talented athlete prospects for the Paralympic podium, along with developing clear pathways to get them there.

Rapatel brings extensive expertise to the role. Previously Director, Coach and Athlete Development at Alpine Canada, and before that the organization's High Performance Director of Para-Alpine, Rapatel developed the Paralympic Alpine Ski Team into a world-leading program that won 13 of Canada's 19 medals at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games - the best-ever performance for the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team at the Paralympic Games.

Fluently bilingual, he holds a M.A., Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa and a B.Sc., Physical Education (Kinesiology) from the University of Montreal. He begins in the role on Sept. 3.

"I'm really excited about this new partnership between OTP and CPC and CSI Pacific," said Rapatel, who is originally from Montreal, Que. "I'm looking forward to working with all three organizations in moving Paralympic sport forward to make Canada the world's leading Paralympic nation."

"This new role will deepen Canada's competitive prospects internationally in Paralympic sport and ensure that we continue to advance," added Rob Needham, Executive Director of Sport for the Canadian Paralympic Committee. "We're thrilled to be working with our sport partners on this enhancement to the Paralympic sport system. Jean-François brings a proven track record in long term athlete development and talent identification."

"Own the Podium, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific and the Canadian Paralympic Committee have combined our efforts towards developing a high-performance athlete development plan focused on growing the talent pool of para-athletes, with the ultimate goal of creating more Paralympic champions for Canada," said Anne Merklinger, Chief Executive Officer, Own the Podium. "The employment of a Paralympic high-performance athlete development advisor is a critical first step taken towards accomplishing our collective goals and growing parasport across the country."

"This is a very important opportunity for athletes with disabilities across the country," said Wendy Pattenden, Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Sport Institute Pacific. "The Paralympic High Performance Athlete Development Advisor will help to ensure our Paralympians can compete and win against the best in the world."

Rapatel's Victoria-based position will be complemented by a second Paralympic High Performance Athlete Development Advisor based in Toronto at the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, to be announced at a later date.

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization with 25 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The Canadian Paralympic Committee's vision is to be the world's leading Paralympic nation. Its mission is to lead the development of a sustainable Paralympic sport system in Canada to enable athletes to reach the podium at the Paralympic Games. By supporting Canadian high performance athletes with a disability and promoting their success, the Canadian Paralympic Committee inspires all Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca

SOURCE Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)

Image with caption: "The Canadian Paralympic Committee, in partnership with Own The Podium and Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jean-François Rapatel as the inaugural Paralympic High Performance Athlete Development Advisor, based in Victoria, B.C. at the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific (CNW Group/Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130903_C9785_PHOTO_EN_30333.jpg




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