Parksville resident

MLA and cabinet minister Michelle Stilwell selected to compete in Parapan Am Games

Stilwell has three Paralympics gold medals and still holds the world record in both the 100M and 200M wheelchair races

Parksville’s Michelle Stilwell will compete in the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Aug. 10-14.

Athletics Canada nominated 38 athletes for its track and field team on Friday and Stilwell was on the list. The nominations are not final until they get the approval of the Canadian Paralympic Committee, but that’s generally considered a formality.

Stillwell may be the only athlete at the Games who is also a cabinet minister. She is B.C.’s Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation and the MLA for Parksville-Qualicum.

Stilwell, 41, has won three gold and one silver at Paralympic Games starting in Sydney in 2000 (wheelchair basketball gold) and continuing in Beijing in 2008 (gold in both the 200M and 100M wheelchair races) and London in 2012 (gold in the 200M, silver in the 100M).

She currently holds the work record in the 100M, 200M and 800M events.

See Thursday’s paper for more about Stilwell’s journey to the Parapan Am Games, and here’s a statement released by Stilwell on Friday:

“Today, the Canadian Paralympic Committee selected me and 36 other athletes from British Columbia to represent Canada in Athletics at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games. For me, this honour is something I will cherish. It marks the first time I will have the privilege to represent my country at a major international competition being held on Canadian soil. The thrill to compete in front of my fellow Canadians will be a highlight of my athletic career. I would like to congratulate all my fellow Parapan Am Games teammates on their selection to the Canadian team, especially those from British Columbia. The opportunity to wear a Canadian uniform is always special and I know they will all do our country proud. I also want acknowledge and thank the coaches, trainers, physiotherapists and all officials who will also travel to the Parapan Am Games. The contributions and hours these people dedicate cannot be measured. Any athlete will tell you this. I look forward to representing my community, my province and, most importantly, my country at the Parapan Am Games in Ontario. It truly is an honour to wear the Maple Leaf.”

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