We are proud to announce that the Ontario Cycling Association’s Tandem Program was selected for the Parasport Jumpstart Fund! This fund is a joint program between Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and the Canadian Paralympic Committee to create greater opportunities for sport and play for children with disabilities.
In 2017, 35 organizations across Canada were selected to receive a grant through the Parasport Jumpstart Fund, with programs focused on fundamentals, developing new Parasport programming, training for coaches who work with athletes with disabilities, and expanding existing Parasport programs. Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities understands that for kids, the opportunity to play is about much more than getting active: sports teach important life skills like courage, confidence and teamwork, and the opportunity to learn and grow through sport should be accessible to kids of all abilities.
“Since 2005, Jumpstart has been committed to removing financial barriers to sport and recreation, helping more than 1.4 million kids, who otherwise couldn’t afford to play, get in the game,” said Marco Di Buono, Associate Vice President of Programs and Operations at Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. “We are proud to expand on this mandate through programs like the Parasport Jumpstart Fund, which create greater opportunities for sport and play for children with disabilities.”
Since receiving the funding, the Ontario Cycling Association has purchased equipment including stationary trainers to provide athletes the opportunity for at-home or school-accessible training as well as tandem road bikes for outdoor rides and competitions. The OCA has partnered with the W Ross Macdonald School for the Blind and has been able to introduce numerous students to the sport which will help grow the total number of competitive and recreational cycling opportunities for visually impaired athletes..
This fund will also provide the opportunity to integrate Tandem cycling competitions into the able-bodied Youth Series. On May 21st, the Delaware Youth Cup in London, Ontario hosted the first of three Tandem-specific races with a 10.4km TT and a 25 minute Criterium race. The Newmarket Cycling Club will host our second race on June 9th at the Tour de Speed providing a hilly 4.4km TT along with a 35km. Road Race. We will end our 2018 road race season with a double header para-cycling weekend taking place August 11th and 12th where the Town of Cobourg is excited to host a challenging Time Trial and Criterium race.
“We are very excited about this initiative and the impact is already being noticed” Says Michael Suraci, High Performance Manager of the OCA, “With new pilots [guide rider on the front of the bikes] coming forward, race organizers being educated in para-sport and new coaches being trained.”