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CBC: Manitoba Paralympians get ready for Rio Games

September 6, 2016 — 

As CBC reports:

When the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games start on Sept. 7, there will be three athletes from Manitoba representing Canada.

The Paralympics will showcase athletes from around the world Sept. 7-18.

Two of the three Manitoban athletes are U of M alum: Leanne Muldrew [B.A./13] and Meghan Montgomery [B.A./05, B.Ed./07]

Leanne Muldrew

Muldrew is prepared to take Rio by storm as a member of Canada’s first Paralympic sitting volleyball team.

The 33-year-old was a star volleyball player in her teens, but a bad injury and a few surgeries meant she couldn’t compete.

“I really thought my dream of playing volleyball at an elite level was gone,” Muldrew told CBC earlier this month.

“I sat down with my father and we looked online to see if there was a Paralympic women’s volleyball team.”

At the time, there wasn’t, so Muldrew focused on launching a career as an American Sign Language Interpreter.

She played for Team Canada in 2011, but the team missed its shot at competing in London at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

But the 12-athlete squad did qualify for the Rio Games, and Muldrew is ready to prove why they are there.

“We’re underdogs. We’re going to embrace our underdog role,” she said.

She said she and her team know they have their work cut out for them in Rio, but they’re hoping to get a few upsets.

The tournament begins on Sept. 9

Meghan Montgomery

Meghan Montgomery came out of retirement to tackle unfinished business in her rowing career.

Manitoba-born Montgomery came out of retirement to tackle “unfinished business” in her rowing career.

Montgomery, 35, started rowing with the Winnipeg Rowing Club and studied at the University of Manitoba.

She eventually moved to Victoria, B.C., for training, and she competed in the Beijing Paralympic Games and the London Paralympic games.

After London, Montgomery put down her paddles and worked as a math teacher and a rowing coach at a school on Vancouver Island, her blog says.

“I had unfinished business in my rowing career and was missing the athlete life. So I came out of retirement and I’m happier than I have ever been,” she wrote.

The Canadian rowing team is positive and engaged, Montgomery wrote, adding she wanted to work with them to “get Canada to its first podium finish in para-rowing at a Paralympic Games.”

She certainly didn’t get shaky during retirement. Montgomery won the gold medal at the world championships in June.

Women’s para-rowing begins Sept. 10.

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