Over 7,000 elite and up-and-coming para athletes from around the world are in Montreal competing at the Défi sportif AlterGo. Many have one important dream on the line: getting to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Pierrefond’s Sarah White is one of the local athletes fighting for a spot and putting Canada’s name on the map. No matter how hard the road, her strong will always finds a way.
“I think it’s something that I’ll continue doing until I’m very old,” she said of her sport, wheelchair racing.
You wouldn’t guess it, but White is back at her sport after a year of recovery from a surgery.
It’s not the first obstacle she’s faced since being diagnosed at just 7-months-old with neuroblastoma — a childhood cancer that cost her the use of her legs.
But that never got in the way of her love of sports.
“This has been a lifestyle for me and track is a dream I’ve had ever since the first time I got into a racing chair. That’s something I’m going to continue pursuing until I get there,” White said, speaking of the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020.
White is part of the new generation of Canadian para athletes making our country shine at the Défi sportif AlterGo.
She’s taking the torch from greats like retired Paralympic athlete Chantal Petitclerc, her inspiration.
“She gave me her racing chair from 2006, so when I was 12 years old I got to start out with that chair, which is really exciting,” White said.
Watch: Morning News Laura Casella talks to paralympic athlete Sarah White
This year, one of the competitions was named after the decorated Para-Olympian, the “Chantal-Petitclerc classic.”
“It’s a privilege, it’s humbling, it’s exciting. It’s exciting to see the young ones coming up,” Petitclerc said.
And they’re coming up in many other sports, including fencing. Montrealer Camille Chai is also fighting for a spot at the Tokyo Paralympics.
“It will be the best thing I think that can happen to me in the world,” said Chai, her face lighting up.
But beyond fighting to advance, Chai has a bigger mission.
“I’m proud that I can show to everyone that it is possible, even without an arm and a leg,” Chai said.
“I want to share the message that if we want, we can.”